Press Release

Hacker Indicted on Federal Charges Allegedly Broke into Dept. of Defense, NASA Systems

By SpaceRef Editor
July 30, 2004
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The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California announced that Robert Lyttle, 20, of Pleasant Hill, California, was indicted yesterday by a federal grand jury for hacking government computers and defacing government Web sites with material illegally obtained from those illegal intrusions.

According to the indictment, Mr. Lyttle, who is also alleged to be known as “The Deceptive Duo,” is alleged to have unlawfully accessed computer systems of various federal agencies in April 2002, including the Department of Defense’s Defense Logistic Information Service (DLIS) and Office of Health Affairs (OHA) and the National Aeronautic and Space Administration’s (NASA) Ames Research Center (ARC). Specifically, the indictment alleges that Mr. Lyttle gain unauthorized accessed to DLIS computers in Battle Creek, Michigan for the purpose of obtaining files that he later used to deface an OHA website hosted on computers in San Antonio, Texas. The indictment also alleges that Mr. Lyttle gained unauthorized access to a NASA ARC computer located at Moffett Field, California and obtained information from that computer for the purpose of defacing a website hosted on the computer. The indictment alleges that Mr. Lyttle caused damage to, or otherwise affected the government’s use of, the computer systems, thereby requiring the government to incur costs in excess of $70,000.

The maximum statutory penalty for the count in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(5)(A)(i) is 10 years of imprisonment and a fine of $250,000, plus restitution if appropriate. The maximum statutory penalty for the counts in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1030(a)(2) and 1030(a)(5)(A)(ii) is five years of imprisonment and a fine of $250,000, plus restitution if appropriate. Finally, the maximum statutory penalty for the count in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(3) is one year of imprisonment and a fine of $100,000, plus restitution if appropriate. However, any sentence following conviction would be dictated by the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of factors, and would be imposed in the discretion of the Court. An indictment simply contains allegations against an individual and, as with all defendants, Mr. Lyttle must be presumed innocent unless and until convicted.

Mr. Lyttle is scheduled to make his initial appearance before United States Magistrate Judge Maria-Elena James in San Francisco on July 19, 2004, at a.m. to be arraigned on the indictment.

The prosecution is being overseen by the Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property (CHIP) Unit of the United States Attorney’s Office and is the result of an investigation by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and NASA’s Office of Inspector General. Kyle F. Waldinger is the Assistant U.S. Attorney in the CHIP Unit who is prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release may be found on the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s website at Related court documents and information may be found on the District Court website at or on http://pacer.cand.uscourts/gov. All press inquiries to the U.S. Attorney’s Office should be directed to Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Sonderby, Chief of the CHIP unit, at (408) 535-5037, or Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew J. Jacobs at (415) 436-7181.

SpaceRef staff editor.