Census Email CIA Boss, Adolescent Hacker On Trial in UK

A teenage hacker was tried in Britain for hacking and accessing the communications accounts of high-ranking US intelligence and security officials. One of those hacked is the email account of a former boss of the US Central Intelligence Agency or CIA, John Brennan.

As reported by AFP Saturday (20/1/2018), 18-year-old Kane Gamble is again on trial this week at the Old Bailey Criminal Court, England. Gamble has acknowledged 10 criminal charges in violation of the Computer Abuse Act, which is caught up to him.

Hacking of US high officials was between June 2015 and February 2016, when he was still 15-16 years old. From his room in Coalville, England, Gamble managed to 'mimic' the targets he hacked to collect some very confidential and sensitive information.

"Kane Gamble gained access to the communication accounts of a number of high-ranking US intelligence officials and US government officials and also gained access to a network of US intelligence and law enforcement agencies," prosecutor John Lloyd-Jones told the hearing on Friday (19/1) yesterday.

It was revealed in the trial that Gamble founded a group named Crackas With Attitude (CWA) that exploited social engineering to manipulate call centers desk to disclose confidential information, which is then exploited.

Social engineering is a psychological manipulation of a person in taking action or revealing a secret information. Social engineering is usually done by telephone or internet. This method became one of the methods of hackers obtaining information.

In action several years ago, Gamble pretended to be Brennan when contacting Verizon and AOL telecom companies in the US. A number of sensitive documents reportedly obtained Gamble from inbox Brennan's personal email. Not only that, Gamble also managed to get information about intelligence and military operations in Iran and Afghanistan.

"Apparently he also managed to access Brennan's iCloud account," said prosecutor Lloyd-Jones. Gamble called AOL and asked for a password reset to take over the Brennan wife's iPad.

In addition to Brennan, Gamble also targets former US Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson. He dialed Johnson's number and left a voicemail saying 'Am I scaring you?'. Gamble also managed to display a message that reads 'I have you guys' on the Johnson family screen.

Other Gamble targets include Avril Haines who was then deputy national security adviser to President Barack Obama, then senior adviser to technology and scientific John Holdren and special agents FBI Amy Hess. Gamble gained unauthorized access to the US Department of Justice computer network and was able to access court documents, including the Deepwater oil spill. He reportedly gave a number of secret documents that he got to WikiLeaks.

Gamble was arrested at his home in England, on February 9, 2017, at the request of the FBI. Gamble claims his action aims to support the Palestinians and because the US kills innocent civilians a lot. Gamble is currently awaiting the verdict. Not yet known when the verdict was held.

(nvc / nkn)