'Anarchaos' pleads guilty to conspiracy charge in hacking case

May 28, 2013 4:44:07 PM PDT
A suburban Chicago computer whiz pleaded guilty to hacking into the FBI and other government agencies and businesses. Jeremy Hammond was a top programmer in the world's largest hacking case, which is now even bigger.

Hammond grew up in west suburban Glendale Heights. He became known as "Anarchaos" in computer hacking circles for his knack at breaking through government firewalls and corporate security to gain access to sensitive and top secret computers.

No longer just allegations, the 28-year-old Hammond cut a deal with federal prosecutors in New York by pleading to one count of conspiracy.

"Any method of disruption at any cost; any means necessary... let them call us terrorists. I'll still bomb their buildings," Hammond said at a 2005 conference on hacking in which the Glenbard East graduate didn't conceal his contempt for the corporate world and government. Since then, "Anarchaos" has picked up a list of other aliases, including anarchacker, yohoho, tylerknowsthis, sup g, POW, crediblethreat, burn and ghost.

Facing up to 10 years in prison, Hammond has already been in jail for nearly a year and a half. Federal prosecutors charged him with hacking into the Texas-based, private intelligence gathering firm Stratfor and allegedly stealing the personal data on hundreds of thousands of individual Stratfor clients, including a former U.S. vice president and CIA director.

To avoid a possible 30-year sentence, Hammond pleaded guilty in a deal that was announced on a website. That site had been set up by Hammond's fellow "hacktivists," to which Hammond has become a folk hero. The site is followed by thousands of his supporters.

Hammond admitted Tuesday to a case involving 860,000 hacking victims, including several newly named targets: the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Arizona Department of Public Safety; Boston Police Patrolmen's Association and the Jefferson County, Alabama Sheriff.

Hammond said he did it because he believes "people have a right to know what governments and corporations are doing behind closed doors."

ABC7's I-Team tried to contact Hammond's father to talk about the deal. However, John Hammond was unavailable; he's in an Illinois prison, serving time for molesting a 14-year-old girl.

The I-Team sent emails to Hammond's brother and girlfriend, but never heard back. Hammond will remain behind bars until sentencing in September.


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