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New Jersey Man Pleads Guilty to Hacker Attack Involving Hardware Keyloggers

A New Jersey man has pleaded guilty in federal court to hacking two companies and installing keyloggers in an effort to steal data.

The man, Ankur Agarwal, 45, pleaded guilty to two counts of obtaining information from computers and one count of aggravated identity theft.

Starting February 2017, Agarwal physically trespassed onto a company’s premises in New Jersey to install hardware keylogger devices that would allow him to record the keystrokes of employees and obtain their usernames and passwords.

Agarwal also installed his personal computer and a hard drive onto the company’s computer network and, using the fraudulently obtained credentials, hacked into the firm’s network, targeting various employees.

He admitted to stealing, transferring, and exfiltrating various pieces of data and information from the company, including details on emerging technology. He also built malware that he installed on the company’s computer systems to steal data.

Agarwal also hacked a second company in New Jersey using the same general scheme. He illegally installed hardware keylogger devices to steal login credentials, as well as his personal computer and a hard drive to harvest and pilfer data and information, including an emerging technology.

The Department of Justice also reveals that Agarwal obtained unauthorized access to an employee’s computer and then created an access badge that he used to physically trespass onto the company’s premises.

The hacker faces a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison for each of the charges of obtaining information from the two companies’ computers. He also faces a mandatory term of two years in prison for aggravated identity theft, which must run consecutively to the other term of imprisonment imposed.

The DoJ also reveals that Agarwal could be fined $250,000 for each charge, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. He is scheduled for sentencing on January 28, 2020.

“Agarwal also consented to a forfeiture judgment requiring him to forfeit numerous computers, storage devices, and related equipment,” the DoJ announced.

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