Hacker Jeremy Hammond Faces Life in Prison for Hack on Stratfor

LulzSec hacker Jeremy Hammond, who is accused in the Stratfor attacks could be sentenced to life in prison. The hearing was carried out in a Manhatton courtroom, where Judge Loretta Preska told Hammond that he could be sentenced to serve anywhere from 360 months-to-life, if convicted on all charges relating to last year’s Stratfor hacking.

So far, Hammond has been imprisoned for eight months without trial. And an interesting fact that came out in the entire scenario is that Judge Preska’s husband was also a victim of the Stratfor hack. What Hammond did was that he illegally obtained credit card information stolen from Stratfor and uploaded it to a server that was unbeknownst to him maintained by the federal government.

A class action suit was filed against Strafor over the breach of security, and the company settled with its customers at an estimated cost of $1.75 million. So, that’s a reason that Judge Preska may have a vested interest in seeking a prosecution. Plus, Stratfor CEO also had to resign after Wikileaks released 5M emails, where Anonymous members boasted of their partnership with Wikileaks in releasing this information.

But Anonymous group is saying that the trial against Hammond is partially unfair, and also issued a statement stating,

“Judge Loretta Preska’s impartiality is compromised by her husband’s involvement with Stratfor and a clear prejudice against Hammond exists, as evident by her statements. Judge Preska by proxy is a victim of the very crime she intends to judge Jeremy Hammond for. Judge Preska has failed to disclose the fact that her husband is a client of Stratfor and recuse herself from Jeremy’s case, therefore violating multiple sections of Title 28 of the United States Code.”

“In the interest of justice, the public, media, and defense should demand Judge Preska remove herself from Hammond’s case, or if she will not, demand a superior court provide a writ of prohibition forcing her to step down. Without justice being freely, fully, and impartially administered, neither our persons, nor our rights, nor our property, can be protected.”

“While Anonymous and its cells have gotten a lot of press, the world of hacking isn’t always sunshine and roses,” adds Kyt Dotson, HackANGLE editor. “Laws governing sentencing and damages involved in national security and other events are a strange hodgepodge of bygone eras that still think in telephones and wires–as a result, it’s very easy for a judge to ‘throw away the key.’ We can look back on Kevin Mitnick’s sentence for that.

“This era of the hacktivist, however, opens up an entire new can of worms where a multitude of sites are vulnerable to very simple attacks, the virtual crowbar through the window (without the sense of violence involved.) As a result, we’re seeing a new breed of cybercriminality rise that has a hint of mischief and that’s exactly what Anonymous latches onto.”

Add in the media frenzy surrounding anything involving Anonymous, Dotson adds, and even the smallest manifesto about a hacker who identifies with the collective can become viral. The recent trials of other hackers from LulzSec, Anonymous, and others will continue to define this era as law enforcement and the newfound underground provided by a changing social undercurrent as even more hackers arise to follow in their footsteps and carve out their own legacy.

Photo: A clipped “propaganda” illustration published to a website dedicated to raising money for the defense of alleged LulzSec hacker Jeremy Hammond. Creative Commons licensed.

About Isha Suri

Isha Suri is a staff writer for SiliconANGLE covering social news and security trends. If you have a story idea or news tip, send it to @SiliconAngle on Twitter.