Federal prosecutors are going after a man they say stole the personal information of more than 1,000 American federal employees and military personnel.
The theft, according to a statement from the Department of Justice, was part of a plot to hand that information over to people affiliated with ISIS.
Federal officials allege that Ardit Ferizi, a well-known hacker, broke into the computer system of an unidentified US retailer this past summer, stole information pertaining to some 100,000 people and analyzed the data.
Roughly 1,300 people in that data pool were determined to be either US service members or federal employees.
The information was reportedly published on social media. According to court documents cited by The Wall Street Journal, an ISIS operative “used Twitter to post a link on Aug. 11 to a 30-page document listing those Americans.”
The Justice Department says that document read in part: “we are extracting confidential data and passing on your personal information to the soldiers of the khilafah, who soon with the permission of Allah will strike at your necks in your own lands!”
That message was followed by pages of names, e-mail addresses and passwords, locations and phone numbers for the targeted US service members and federal employees.
Ferizi, who is a citizen of Kosovo, but was detained in Malaysia, is a hacker believed to be affiliated with a group that claims to have breached tens of thousands of websites in the past – including that of Interpol and the US computer hardware company, Intel.
US officials are calling it an unprecedented case, since it appears to be the first time a hacker has partnered with a terror group to potentially harm Americans.
- Amwal al Ghad
Ferizi claims to be associated with a hacking group called, Kosova Hacker’s Security, and allegedly worked under the pseudonym, “@Th3Dir3ctorY” on Twitter.
Assistant Attorney General John Carlin with the National Security division of the Justice Department called Ferizi “a terrorist hacker” and accused him of specifically targeting US service members and federal employees, “and providing it to ISIL for use against those employees.”
“ISIL” is one of several names used to describe the Islamic State terror group.
Ferizi is expected to be brought to the US to face charges.