Kane Gamble, 18, has been sentenced to two years in a youth detention center for compromising the email and phone accounts of senior U.S. government officials. The teenager targeted CIA, FBI and US Department of Justice databases and tricked conned call centers into revealing information. Using the information, Gamble got into the accounts of then-FBI director Mark Giuliano, then-Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson and then-CIA chief John Brennan.
Gamble was part of a group of hackers called “Crackas With Attitude,” and was reportedly a founder of the group. He was 15 and 16 when the hacks occurred and pleaded guilty to 10 charges last year in October. Gamble made no reaction as he was sentenced. The presiding justice, Judge Haddon-Cave, also ordered the seizure of his computers.
The judge called his actions acts of “cyber-terrorism.” Gamble managed to get information about military and intelligence operations in Iran and Afghanistan. Gamble also uploaded details of 20,000 FBI employees, obtained from the US Department of Justice, with the message “This is for Palestine”.
Gamble gained access to court case files through the US Department of Justice network, including files on the Deepwater oil spill. Several sensitive documents were reportedly obtained from Brennan’s private email inbox. He also impersonated Brennan in calls to telecom companies Verizon and AOL.
In his defense, his lawyer told the court that Gamble was on the autism spectrum and never meant to “harm” any individuals. Harbage had argued for a suspended sentence so Gamble could sit for his GCSEs in June and pursue computer studies at university. The prosecutor reminded the court of the level of sophistication in the attacks, the persistence of Gamble as he pursued the attacks, and the amount of damage caused by his actions.
The judge agreed with the prosecutor, noting that some of Gamble’s actions were clearly malicious and intended to frighten the targets. For example, he was able to successfully get a message to appear on the Johnson family television saying: “I own you”, and left Johnson’s wife a voicemail saying “Am I scaring you?”.