Ohio man charged in video claiming stolen University of Pittsburgh records
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A Loveland, Ohio, man has been charged criminally in relation to postings on YouTube that threatened the University of Pittsburgh, U.S. Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.
Alexander Waterland, 24, on April 26 posted a YouTube video claiming that a group called Anonymous had hacked into Pitt's computers and obtained records related to students, faculty and alumni, according to a Federal Bureau of Investigation affidavit filed in the case on Tuesday, and unsealed today. The video demanded an apology for what it called Pitt's failure to safeguard student welfare, according to the affidavit.
On May 14, according to the affidavit, an email to Pitt police urged that the university "Do what's best, time is of essence, so you have seven days to have the public apology to the students released. ... We are anonymous! We Are Legion! ... We are your worst nightmare!"
Someone posted online, and later sent to Pitt, downloaded information on university employees' names, email addresses, telephone extensions and offices addresses, and some employees' curriculum vitae.
FBI agents tracked the Internet traffic to Mr. Waterland's apartment, and also connected him to alleged hacking and threats against two businesses and the Georgia College and State University Senate, according to the affidavit. His cell phone included photographs that matched images in some of the threats, plus pictures of people in Guy Fawkes masks like those used by the "hacktivist" group Anonymous, the FBI agent wrote.
Mr. Waterland is charged with interstate threats and extortion, and interstate extortion involving a protected computer.
The threats, said Mr. Hickton, "caused disruption in campus operations," especially since they followed a spate of bomb threats that ended just days before the YouTube posting.
The investigation of the bomb threats continues, according to the press release from Mr. Hickton's office.
Mr. Waterland was arrested by FBI agents and is to make an initial appearance in federal court in Ohio this afternoon. He is expected to be transferred to the Pittsburgh area for prosecution.
First Published June 20, 2012 12:39 am