the takedown

Twin Brothers Sentenced to 3 Years in State Department Hack

Twin brothers from Springfield, VA were sentenced Friday for multiple offenses, including conspiracy to  commit wire fraud, conspiracy to access a protected computer, and conspiracy to access a government computer without authorization.

Muneeb and Sohaib Akhter were indicted by a federal grand jury on April 30, 2015, and pleaded guilty on June 26, 2015.

Sohaib used his contract position at the State Department to attempt to install an electronic collection device inside an agency building. The device would have allowed the brothers to remotely access State Department data.  According to a Justice Department release, the pair was likely seeking sensitive visa and passport data. Sohaib also tried to obtain personal information about his co-workers, a former employer, and a federal law enforcement agent investigating his case.

“The Akhter brothers’ misuse of their computer skills harmed numerous individuals and companies, and their efforts to gain clandestine access to State Department systems represented a threat to national security,” said U.S. Attorney Dana J. Boente for the Eastern District of Virginia.  “Electronic barriers are no less real, or legitimate, than physical ones.  This prosecution sends a clear message to anyone else attempting to weaken the cybersecurity of institutions or use computers to commit crimes.”

In addition to the above charges, Muneeb Akhter was also sentenced for accessing a protected computer without authorization, making a false statement, and obstructing justice.  Therefore, Muneeb Akhter was sentenced to 39 months in prison, and Sohaib Akhter was sentenced to 24 months in prison. Each was also sentenced to three years of supervised release.

“Electronic barriers are no less real, or legitimate, than physical ones,” said U.S. Attorney Dana Boente. “This prosecution sends a clear message to anyone else attempting to weaken the cybersecurity of institutions or use computers to commit crimes.”

Posted in The Takedown

Tags: EPA, Justice Department, DOJ

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