Threat Management

Hacktivist pleads guilty to defacing websites for NYC comptroller, Combating Terrorism Center

A Torrance, California man yesterday pleaded guilty in federal court to defacing the websites of a New York City government official and a U.S. military academy with the messages "Hacked by AlfabetoVirtual," "#FREEPALESTINE" and "#FREEGAZA."

Appearing in the District Court of Southern New York, Billy Ribeiro Anderson, 41, copped to two felony counts of computer fraud for causing damage to a protected computer. Each count carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

According to a Department of Justice press release, Anderson (aka Anderson Albuquerque and AlfabetoVirtual) infected his victims' web servers with malware in order to gain unlawful access, and vandalized over 11,000 U.S. military, government and business websites between 2015 and March 13, 2018. These included the sites for the Combating Terrorism Center at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York and the Office of the NYC Comptroller.

A DOJ press release explains that Anderson defaced the Combating Terrorism Center's site using an "unauthorized administrative account that exploited a known cross-site script vulnerability, thereby enabling [him] to bypass access controls and target an internal... website address." 

"This case demonstrates that those who seek to commit cyber intrusions of government websites will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," said U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman in the release.

Bradley Barth

As director of multimedia content strategy at CyberRisk Alliance, Bradley Barth develops content for online conferences, webcasts, podcasts video/multimedia projects — often serving as moderator or host. For nearly six years, he wrote and reported for SC Media as deputy editor and, before that, senior reporter. He was previously a program executive with the tech-focused PR firm Voxus. Past journalistic experience includes stints as business editor at Executive Technology, a staff writer at New York Sportscene and a freelance journalist covering travel and entertainment. In his spare time, Bradley also writes screenplays.

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