US hacker accused of super-computer breach pleads guilty to FBI charges

A hacker has pleaded guilty to claims that he attempted to sell unauthorised access to US government servers.

Andrew James Miller, a member of the Underground Intelligence Agency hacking group, is accused by the Federal Bureau of Investigation [FBI] of illegally gaining access to super-computers at the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab in California.

Wired.com quotes court documents that claim Miller was able to gain access to the system by hacking into a Japanese university, Harvard University and the University of California at Davis, all of which were connected to the super-computers.

Miller was caught when using the online handle “Green” as he offered to sell an undercover FBI operative access to the super-computers in exchange for $50,000 [£32,337] and also boasted that he could access the corporate servers of American Express, Yahoo, WordPress, Adobe, Google and other companies and universities.

To test out Miller’s brags the FBI paid the hacker $1,000 [£646] for access to Massachusetts based RNKTel’s entire corporate network and this confirmed the extent of Miller’s hacking.

“According to RNKTel, with that administrator-level access, a bad actor could not only have accessed RNKTel’s confidential business records but could also have altered customer accounts to obtain, for free, the telecommunication services that RNKTel sells to its customers,” prosecutors said.

The court filing points out that the FBI didn’t pay the $50,000 [£32,337] requested by Miller as well as the fact they made a further two deals for $1,200 [£776] and $1,000 [£646] to acquire the databases of Texas company ISP Layered Tech and Domino’s Pizza.

Under Miller’s plea deal he could face a maximum of 18 months behind bars and is out on bail until the Massachusetts sentencing date that is set for November.