National Crime Agency

Thursday 15 Jun 2017

Hacker stole satellite data from US Department of Defence

A computer hacker has admitted stealing hundreds of user accounts from a US military communications system.

Sean Caffrey, 25, of Sutton Coldfield, accessed and stole the ranks, usernames and email addresses of more than 800 users of a satellite communications system, as well as of about 30,000 satellite phones.

He pleaded guilty at Birmingham Crown Court today to an offence under the Computer Misuse Act.

The theft from the US Department of Defense (DoD) took place on 15 June 2014. Officers from the NCA’s National Cyber Crime Unit (NCCU) and West Midlands Police arrested Caffrey in March 2015 after intelligence showed the hack originated from his internet connection.

Forensic examination of his computers by NCA officers found the stolen data on the hard drives.

NCA officers also found that an online messaging account linked to the attack  had been opened and operated under a pseudonym using Caffrey’s computers.

The DoD said it cost approximately $628,000 to fix the damage caused by the hacker’s intrusion.

Janey Young, investigations manager at the NCA, said: “After strong partnership working between the NCA, the FBI and the DoD’s Defense Criminal Investigative Service there was very clear, very compelling evidence against Sean Caffrey.

“No one should think that cyber crime is victimless or that they can get away with it.

“The NCA has people with skills like Caffrey’s, but they’re doing the opposite to him in detecting cyber criminals and bringing them to justice.

“We’re working to keep the internet a safe space for people who use it legitimately.”

Contact Information

Notes to editors

  • Sean Caffrey, of Lichfield Road, Sutton Coldfield, dob 11/07/1991
  • Pleaded guilty today (15/06/2017) at Birmingham Crown Court to Causing a computer to perform a function to secure unauthorised access to a program or data