U.S. News

California man charged with hacking, defacing government websites

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A California man was arrested on Thursday on charges he hacked and vandalized websites associated with the U.S. Military Academy and the office of New York City’s comptroller.

Billy Ribeiro Anderson, 41, was arrested at his home in Torrance, California, and will be brought to New York to face the charges, according to the office of U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman in Manhattan.

A lawyer for Anderson could not immediately be identified.

According to a complaint filed in federal court in Manhattan, Anderson hacked the website of the Combating Terrorism Center, an academic body at the military academy in West Point, New York. Prosecutors said he defaced the website by having it display the words “Hacked by AlfabetoVirtual,” his pseudonym.

Anderson allegedly also hacked the website of New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer in July 2015, causing it to display “Hacked by AlfabetoVirtual,” “#FREEPALESTINE” and “#FREEGAZA.”

While the complaint focused on these two incidents, it said Anderson also committed more than 11,000 other defacements of “various U.S. military, government, and business websites around the world” using the pseudonym AlfabetoVirtual.”

A defacement involves a hacker infiltrating a website and replaces its public content with his or hers own.

Anderson is charged with three counts of computer fraud.

Reporting by Brendan Pierson in New York; Editing by Leslie Adler