U.S. authorities have arrested two suspects allegedly involved in dumping details on 29,000 officials with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.
Andrew Otto Boggs and Justin Gray Liverman have been charged with hacking into the internet accounts of senior U.S. government officials and breaking into government computer systems.
Both suspects were arrested on Thursday, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Boggs, age 22, and Liverman, 24, are from North Carolina and are allegedly part of a hacking group called Crackas With Attitude.
From October 2015 until February, they used hacking techniques, including "victim impersonation" to trick internet service providers and a government help desk into giving up access to the accounts, the DOJ alleged.
After gaining access, they stole personal information and uploaded it to Twitter. In addition, they defaced their victim’s social media accounts and harassed the government officials and their families through phone calls.
The FBI’s affidavit of the case doesn’t name the government officials involved, but they're believed to include CIA Director John Brennan. The document mentions five victims.
Three other hackers located in the U.K. are also suspects in the case, and local authorities there are investigating. All three are male teenagers, two of which are 17, another 15.
The suspects first targeted the accounts of the government officials’ internet service providers, including AOL, Comcast, and Verizon. In one instance, they made phone calls to Verizon, pretending to be an employee or the government official to gain access.
The FBI's affidavit suggests that the suspects used Social Security numbers, addresses, and other personal information from their victims to pull off their scheme.
The suspects also broke into government sites, including the DOJ management system. To gain access, one of the suspects tricked the department's help desk into giving him the login credentials simply by making a phone call.
In February, the group then used Twitter to post details on 29,000 FBI and Department of Homeland Security officials, including their phone numbers and email addresses.
Both Boggs and Liverman will appear in a federal court in Virginia next week.