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Anonymous hacker pleads guilty to Austin, Texas, cyberattack

May 29, 2013 at 8:30 AM

NEW YORK, May 29 (UPI) -- A Chicago man pleaded guilty in New York federal court to hacking into the computers of a Texas intelligence firm and stealing employees' information.

Jeremy Hammond, 28, was arrested last year for his connection to hacker group Anonymous and their cyberattack against Strategic Forecasting, Inc., -- known as Stratfor -- based in Austin, Texas.

He pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy in connection with the December 2011 hack of the company, during which he and his co-conspirators stole employee emails and credit card information, which they used to make more than $700,000 in unauthorized charges, the Chicago Tribune reported Tuesday.

"While he billed himself as fighting for an anarchist cause, in reality, Jeremy Hammond caused personal and financial chaos for individuals whose identities and money he took and for companies whose businesses he decided he didn't like," Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, said in a statement.

During his plea, Hammond admitted his involvement in other cyberattacks, including those on law-enforcement websites, the Tribune reported.

"Now that I have pleaded guilty it is a relief to be able to say that I did work with Anonymous to hack Stratfor, among other websites. Those others included military and police equipment suppliers, private intelligence and information security firms, and law enforcement agencies. I did this because I believe people have a right to know what governments and corporations are doing behind closed doors. I did what I believe is right," Hammond said in a statement on the website www.freejeremy.net.

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