Two Americans have been arrested and charged for allegedly helping to hack high-ranking US government officials.
The US Department of Justice said Andrew Otto Boggs and Justin Gray Liverman were part of the “Crackas With Attitude” group blamed for the attacks.
Email accounts of the CIA’s director, the chief of National Intelligence and many others, were hit by the group.
It also stole and published details of 29,000 FBI and Homeland Security agents and workers.
Court documents, written by FBI agents who aided the investigation, revealed that the hackers tricked technical support staff into giving them access to the sensitive email accounts. The hackers also posed as technicians from ISPs and other service companies to get passwords re-set so they could take over accounts and get at federal computer systems. All the attacks took place in early 2016.
Sensitive messages and documents found by the attackers through the hacked email accounts were published online. The two men have been accused of taking part in a criminal conspiracy and are due to appear in court next week.
Tech news site Ars Tech said prosecutors involved in the case are also pursuing at least three more members of the Crackas With Attitude group. All three are believed to be teenagers who live in the UK. The Crown Prosecution Service is understood to be investigating their alleged part in the attacks.
Court documents suggest the CWA members living overseas placed the calls that led to accounts being taken over.