Cybercrime , Fraud Management & Cybercrime , Government

Hackers Plead Guilty After Breaching Law Enforcement Portal

Justice Says Sagar Steven Singh and Nicholas Ceraolo Doxed and Threatened Victims
Hackers Plead Guilty After Breaching Law Enforcement Portal
Image: Shutterstock

Two hackers pleaded guilty Monday in federal court to conspiring to commit computer intrusion and aggravated identity theft. Authorities said they used a law enforcement officer's stolen password to gain unauthorized access to a nonpublic portal maintained by a U.S. law enforcement agency, according to the Justice Department.

See Also: Securing the Nation: FedRAMP-Authorized Identity Security

Sagar Steven Singh and Nicholas Ceraolo were charged in March 2023 for hacking into the law enforcement database. Officials said the hackers threatened to "harm" victims' families unless they were provided with login credentials to their Instagram accounts.

The hackers called themselves "ViLe" and used doxing and other extortion tactics to get money out of their victims. Singh and Ceraolo collected victims' sensitive information, including Social Security and driver's license numbers, and then sought to post that data on a public site until they were paid to remove it.

The Justice Department referenced messages Singh sent to Ceraolo after accessing the database in which he wrote that he had "jacked into a police officer's account."

"That portal had some f***ing potent tools," he apparently told Ceraolo. "IT gave me access to gov databases."

Singh then told his victim in a message that he had "access to databases, which are federal, through [the] portal" and added that he "can request information on anyone in the U.S."

"Doesn't matter who," Singh wrote, according to the Justice Department. "Nobody is safe."

Singh and Ceraolo both face a maximum of seven years in prison. The Justice Department National Security Cyber Section is handling the case.

About the Author

Chris Riotta

Chris Riotta

Managing Editor, GovInfoSecurity

Riotta is a journalist based in Washington, D.C. He earned his master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where he served as 2021 class president. His reporting has appeared in NBC News, Nextgov/FCW, Newsweek Magazine, The Independent and more.

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