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Teen Arrested for Hacking Minnesota Government Systems

The United States Department of Justice this week announced the arrest of an individual charged with the hacking of servers owned by the State of Minnesota.

The suspect, Cameron Thomas Crowley, 19, who uses the online handle of Vigilance, made an initial appearance in court on Tuesday, before United States Magistrate Judge Becky R. Thorson in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He remains in federal custody pending his detention hearing.

In addition to announcing Crowley’s arrest, the Department of Justice revealed a five-count indictment that charges the individual with intentional access to a protected computer, intentional damage to a protected computer, and aggravated identity theft.

The indictment alleges that, between May 28, 2017 and June 17, 2017, Crowley intentionally accessed protected servers owned by the State of Minnesota and other entities, without authorization.

In June last year, Vigilance announced on Twitter the hacking of databases belonging to the Minnesota state government and the theft of over a thousand email addresses and corresponding passwords, all of which were dumped online.

The hacker said at the time the action was the result of a jury finding Jeronimo Yanez, a police officer from St. Anthony, Minnesota, not guilty of manslaughter after he shot and killed African-American Philando Castile during a seemingly routine traffic stop in the summer of 2016.

Castile, 32, was shot seven times when he tried to reach for his ID, after he told Yanez he had a gun and a license to carry it. Castile was in the car with his girlfriend and their 4-year-old daughter.

Crowley is also charged with transmitting programs, code, and commands to the compromised servers, causing damage that led to a loss to the State of Minnesota of more than $5,000.

Thus, the alleged hacker is charged with three counts of intentional access to a protected computer and one count of intentional damage to a protected computer. Additionally, the indictment charges Crowley with one count of aggravated identity theft.

The investigation into this case is conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

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