This Intelligence Report looks into the scheme that federal authorities say resulted in break-ins to government and corporate computers around the world.
West suburban native Jeremy Hammond is not an "alleged" hacker; 27-year old Hammond is a hacker. The Glenbard East graduate freely admits being a hacker in the name of "social justice." Not only has he previously been convicted of breaking into computers, he has done time for it, and now Hammond is back behind bars, charged in a major conspiracy to hack and steal information from some of the world's most powerful and sensitive organizations.
Jeremy Hammond had blonde hair, but the tactics he discussed at a hacking conference in 2005 are the same ones that caused his arrest Tuesday: "Any method of disruption at any cost; any means necessary...let them call us terrorists. I'll still bomb their buildings."
Hammond, known by the nickname "Anarchaos," was arrested Monday night at his home in Bridgeport.
"I just heard an explosion, and somebody called me and said there's a bunch of cops out here," said neighbor Mic Brady. "So, I came out and about 30 FBI agents."
Federal prosecutors have charged Hammond with the December hacking of computers owned by the Texas-based private intelligence gathering firm Stratfor; allegedly stealing the personal data on hundreds of thousands of individual Stratfor clients, including a former U.S. vice president and CIA director.
The charges sent shivers through the corporate world.
"The e-mails are private property," said Strafor CEO George Friedman. "Like all private e-mails, they were written casually, with no expectation that anyone other than the sender and recipient would ever see them."
Hammond has been arrested numerous times for hacking and in Chicago during a protest against the push for the 2016 Olympic Games, arrests that prompted him to start a this website called "FreeJeremy.com."
After court Tuesday, the I-Team talked to his attorney about whether Hammond realizes the gravity of the latest charges that could result in a 30-year sentence.
"He does take them very seriously," said Jim Fennerty, Hammond's attorney. "You just saw him today. He looks like kind of like-- somebody said he looked kind of shell-shocked because he got arrested last night around 9:30."
Hammond was ordered held without bond so he can be transferred to federal court in Manhattan.
The case is being prosecuted out of New York, where five people in the U.S. and Ireland have been charged, most of the evidence gathered after a cyberhacker began working for the FBI a few months ago.