For the first time, the United States has sentenced a hacker with ties to terrorism for 20 years in prison for his part in stealing and delivering a list of 1,300 U.S. military personnel to the terrorist group, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Ardit Ferizi, a 20-year-old Kosovan citizen who plead guilty to providing material support to ISIL has been handed a 20-year prison sentence by the United States Justice Department,
Ferizi, who goes by his hacker moniker “Th3Dir3ctorY” was charged at the Eastern District Court of Virginia court, with US District Judge Leonie Brinkema presiding over the case.
The hacker was charged with accessing a protected computer without authorization and proving the data to support a terrorist organization.
Ferizi was detained by Malaysian authorities on a provisional arrest warrant on behalf of the United States and was charged on October 6th, 2015 before consenting to extradition. Then, on June 15, 2016, the hacker admitted that he had gained admin-access privileges to a server that hosted details of tens of thousands of personally identifiable information belonging to US military and government personnel.
A total of 1,300 individuals’ names and details were passed on to now-deceased ISIL recruiter and terrorist Junaid Hussain.
In statements, Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin stated:
This case represents the first time we have seen the very real and dangerous national security cyber threat that results from the combination of terrorism and hacking. This was a wake-up call not only to those in law enforcement, but also to those in private industry.”
Ferizi did not make any attempt to mask his IP address or use a fake name on social media, where his activities were revealed. In passing on the information to ISIL, Ferizi was looking to enable the terrorist group to “hit them hard”
While the 20-year prison term isn’t as sweeping as the maximum sentence of 35 years faced by Ferizi, Assistant Attorney General Carlin sees the prosecution sending “a message” to those supporting ISIS and terrorist organizations.