A Kosovo citizen living in Malaysia is accused of stealing US military members’ personal information and passing it on to ISIS terrorists.
20-year-old Ardit Ferizi– who went by the Twitter handle, “Th3Dir3ctorY” — was in regular communication with ISIS members, according to investigators.
Malaysian authorities detained the alleged hacker who had entered the country in August 2014 to study computer science and forensics. He was arrested September 15 in Kuala Lumpur.
A press release issued by the Justice Department’s National Security division, stated that Ferizi committed identity theft violations in conjunction with the “theft and release of personally identifiable information (PII) of U.S. service members and federal employees.”
According to CNN, Ferizi is back in the United States where the FBI has now taken over the investigation. The official charge against him is: “Providing Material Support to ISIL and Computer Hacking Related to the Theft and Distribution of U.S. Military and Federal Employee Personal Information.”
U.S. Assistant Attorney General John Carlin called the case against Ferizi — which combines cybercrime and terror charges as U.S. authorities aim to step up their crackdown on ISIS — “a first of its kind.”
Ferizi headed up a hacking group called Kosova Hacker’s Security, which allegedly stole the PII of thousands of individuals. He then provided the information of over 1,000 U.S. service members and federal employees to ISIL to be used against those employees.
One of the individuals who received that information was Junaid Hussain, a British hacker active on social media who recruited Westerners to join ISIS. Hussain was killed during a U.S. airstrike in Syria back in August.
Hussain reportedly posted a ‘kill list’ online. Authorities say a tweet sent out by Hussain in August contained a hyperlink to a 30-page document. That document stated, in part: “We are passing on your personal information to the soldiers of the ‘khilafah’, who soon with the permission of Allah will strike at your necks in your own lands.”
So far, most of the ISIS-related hacking activities are just considered a nuisance, CNN reports, but still attract a lot of attention because many fear people could use the information to carry out attacks on US soldiers.
If convicted, Ferizi could face up to 35 years in prison.
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