British 15-Year-Old Accessed Classified Documents Pretending To Be Head Of CIA
We all have those moments in our lives when we feel like we have hacker levels of technological prowess – enough to hack the CIA though?
It happens when we get our email passwords right first time after not logging in for about two weeks or when you unlock your phone using your finger print first time.
Yet for most of us, we actually have no idea about hacking, or code, or basically anything about how computer systems really work.
Not so for this 15-year-old who gained access to plans for intelligence operations in Afghanistan and Iran by pretending to be the head of the CIA to gain access to his computers.
A court heard young Kane Gamble used ‘social engineering’ to gain access to the personal and work accounts of some of America’s top spy chiefs, according to The Telegraph.
Social engineering is basically setting up a situation where the victim divulges confidential and private information.
The teen reportedly persuaded call handlers he was John Brennan – CIA director at the time – and gained access to his computers.
He also rang an FBI helpdesk and convinced them he was Mark Guiliano – who was the agency’s Deputy Director – in order to gain access to an intelligence database.
So it really wasn’t all that much hacking, just really good voice acting. He also aimed his target at the US Secretary of Homeland Security as well as Barack Obama’s Director of National Intelligence, all from his bedroom.
A court heard Gamble taunted his victims and released personal information to the world, as well as downloading pornography to their computers.
The prosecuting QC said Gamble was a founder of a group called ‘Crackas With Attitude’ back in 2015 – describing its inception, he said:
It all started by me getting more and more annoyed about how corrupt and cold blooded the US Government are so I decided to do something about it.
The group regularly used the technique of social engineering when attacking their targets and actually didn’t perform any hacking.
Gamble pleaded guilty to ten offences under the Computer Misuse Act and admitted to gaining different levels of access to Mr Brennan’s online profiles by getting call handlers to rewrite security questions.
Eventually, he had access to emails, contacts, iCloud and Mr Brennan’s wife’s iPad.
Mr Lloyd-Jones QC said:
He accessed some extremely sensitive accounts referring to, among other things, military operations and intelligence operations in Afghanistan and Iran.
Gamble did post a bunch of the info on Twitter and Wikileaks and claimed he did so because the US Government were ‘killing innocent people’ in Palestine.
He performed similar techniques on other high profile members of US security before he was eventually arrested by UK police.
He harassed the families of the officials and even threatened them physically before his arrest.
At one point, he did say he thought about putting the stoppers on his tirade ‘because it put lives at risk, but then I thought they are killing innocent people every day’.
Since his arrest, he’s been evaluated by medical experts, who argue Gamble, now 18, is on the autism spectrum and has the mental development of a 12 or 13-year-old.
Gamble will be sentenced at a later date.