John Anthony Borell III, 'Anonymous' Hacker Charged With Police Leaks in Utah, Also Suspected of Posting L.A. Cops' Info, Nude Pics
According to the Los Angeles Times, the FBI suspects 21-year-old Ohio resident John Anthony Borell III -- who's already facing 10 years in prison and a quarter-million-dollar fine for allegedly hacking into two police websites in Utah, of all places -- of posting emails, personal details and nude pics belonging to over 100 law-enforcement officers in the L.A. area.
The late-February breach was an embarrassing one:
Hacktivists claiming to be from the Anonymous offshoot "CabinCr3w" easily swamped the Los Angeles County Police Canine Association's site, extracting all sorts of juicy details about members of the association -- including officers from South Gate, the airport, LAUSD, the Sheriff's Department and more.
Mechelle Thompson, a cop at LAX, got the worst of it: Hackers posted a series of nude photos, available for download, that they said they found in her inbox. South Gate Officer Jesse Flores also played a starring role in the leak, dubbed "PedoCop" after hackers said they found "images of children in an email with the subject 'Men In Training' which were of questionable material."
But the way Borell was caught is equally embarrassing.
FBI investigators reportedly traced Twitter account @ItsKahuna, which was Tweeting links to the hacked files and taking responsibility for them, to Borell's workplace IP address. Officials also subpoenaed his direct messages (DMs) with reporters, in which he bragged about his deeds for the 99 percent.
The @ItsKahuna feed blew up with news of the L.A. police hack:
PedoCop I know you changed your password last night, but it was just a bit to too late you Pedo fuck.— Kahuna (@ItsKahuna) February 21, 2012
That awkward moment when you work for LAPD but you have to ask the LA County Sheriffs HQ for help because you are so fail— Kahuna (@ItsKahuna) February 22, 2012
In the L.A. leak, posted to PasteBin, gleeful Anonymites cited the following as their reasons for targeting SoCal law enforcement: "injustices they have allowed through ignorance or naivety" and "[failing] to protect the safety of those they took an oath to serve."
(Likely in reference to the Occupy Los Angeles raid, which many said was carried out with more force than necessary. In fact, another CabinCr3w hack of LAPD info in December 2011 directly blamed cops for treating protesters "like criminals for practicing a fundamental right.")
CabinCr3w later issued this public apology to the man they were calling "PedoCop":
"We at the Cabin had released some e-mails from a police officer who at initial reaction we found the images that were found in the particular officers e-mails to be lewd, but upon further research found that many of them being shopped and were not aware of the nature of the online chain letter. again we are Anonymous and have to be and will be more careful, also we recognize right from right, wrong from wrong, and we apologize for our initial reaction. The release was also rushed and we did not take the time to research further into where the origin of these pictures. Our future releases will be more cautiously researched and sourced before release. Anons all over should take pride in helping the right and defeating the wrong. Thank you to everyone who brought this to our attention, Apologies to Officer Jesse Flores."
We've contacted the FBI's Los Angeles Bureau for more on the investigation into Borell.
Update: Here are his local charges, via FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller. They're much less extreme -- the Ohio hacker is merely being charged with a "Class A misdemeanor" for "unauthorized impairment of a protected computer."