Hacking police websites earns Ohio man three years in jail

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John Borell III, a 22-year-old man from Ohio said to be linked to hacker collective Anonymous, was sentenced to three years in federal prison on Thursday for hacking police and other websites and releasing sensitive information, the Associated Press (AP) reported Thursday.

Borell denied involvement in the attacks in April 2012, but the hacktivist pleaded guilty (PDF) to computer fraud charges one year later and agreed to pay $227,000 for systems that were damaged and in need of improved security.

Judge Robert Shelby announced the sentencing at U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City.

Utahchiefs.org, a Syracuse police website, a Springfield, Mo. municipal website and a Los Angeles County Police Canine Association website were among the websites that were targeted.

Borell wreaked so much havoc on the Salt Lake City police website that it went out of commission for roughly four months, according to the AP, and along the way he was able to access citizen complaints and information on police officers and informants.

He did not respond to inquiries regarding his motivations, according to reports. 

Borell is said to have operated within an Anonymous splinter group known as CabinCr3w. The Ohio hacktivist communicated with others under the Twitter name @ItsKahuna, and investigating this account was instrumental in authorities tracking Borell down and charging him.

All too common SQL injection attacks are what allowed Borell to access and compromise the targeted websites, according to the indictment unsealed against him in 2012. Five men charged in July used SQL injection attacks to steal roughly 160 million card numbers from major U.S. companies.

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