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'Hacktivist' suspect published data on L.A. cops, FBI claims

May 15, 2012 |  8:43 am

An Ohio man charged by federal officials with a series of "hacktivist" computer intrusions is also suspected of illegally accessing private information on more than 100 officers with the Los Angeles County Police Canine Assn., federal officials in Los Angeles said Tuesday.

John Anthony Borell III faces two counts of computer intrusion in Utah after FBI agents launched a probe into hacks that allegedly caused thousands of dollars of damage to computers and servers used by Utah law enforcement agencies.

In the course of that investigation, FBI officials found Borell was involved in a computer attack on a local police website and published private information, said FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller.

Borrell is awaiting trial in the Utah case. If convicted on both counts, the 21-year-old faces a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison and/or a fine of $250,000 per count.

One count accuses Borell of hacking into a server hosting a website for the Utah Chiefs of Police Assn. Jan. 19. In another, 12 days later, he is accused of intruding into the server hosting the website of the Salt Lake City Police Department.

Authorities were alerted to Borell's alleged activities after he reportedly boasted and revealed details about the breaches on his Twitter account, according to the criminal complaint filed in Utah federal court.

FBI agents then linked the IP addresses used in those intrusions to Borell, who officials said has links to a group associated with Anonymous, an international but loosely knit collective of computer hackers.

During the investigation, the same IP addresses were linked to the same suspect who illegally accessed and then posted the names, addresses and phone numbers of more than 100 officers with the Los Angeles County Police Canine Assn.

The information was accessed from a password-protected area of the site not available to the general public. The illegally obtained information then was posted on a site that allows users to anonymously input data.

This type of site has increasingly been used to post personal information of individuals who raise the ire of online activists. The practice is known as "doxing."


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— Andrew Blankstein (Twitter.com/anblanx)