- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 8, 2016

Authorities have arrested two North Carolina men accused of hacking the email accounts of high-ranking U.S. intelligence officials last year as part of the hacking collective known as Crackas with Attitude.

Andrew Otto Boggs, 22, and Justin Gray Liverman, 24, were arrested Thursday and will be extradited to Virginia to face charges related to the hack of the personal and work accounts of several high-ranking government officials or their spouses. Though an affidavit filed in federal court does not name the five individual victims, the hacking collective has taken credit for compromising the AOL account of CIA Director John Brennan, the Verizon account of Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, as well as email accounts for FBI Executive Assistant Director Amy Hess and FBI Deputy Director Mark Giuliano.

The affidavit states that the hackers obtained access to their victims’ accounts through “social engineering” techniques, at one point calling Verizon and impersonating one of the victims in order to reset a password and gain control of an account. After seizing control of email, social media and other online accounts, officials said the hackers then published personal information stolen from the accounts online or called the victims to harass them.

By using the credentials of one of the hacked victims, the hackers were able to access the a federal law enforcement data portal, the Law Enforcement Enterprise Portal, which allowed them to access to information such as the booking information for criminal offenders.

Members of the Crackas with Attitude collective have bragged to reporters about their exploits in the past, with one hacker previously describing step by step to Motherboard how he obtained access to Mr. Brennan’s AOL account.

At least three other hackers in the United Kingdom are also being investigated for the hacks, according to U.S. authorities. Prior reports indicate that a 16-year-old and 15-year-old were arrested earlier this year.

The hackers are also accused of phoning in a bomb threat to the Belle Glade Police Department in Florida, accessing a Department of Justice database by impersonating an employee and releasing online stolen personal information about 80 Miami police officers. The court documents indicate that the hackers claimed responsibility for large-scale data dump that included the names, positions, email addresses and phone numbers of an estimated 9,000 Homeland Security employees and 20,000 FBI employees.

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