The Kosovo hacker who stole sensitive personal information from thousands of military members was sentenced by a U.S. judge to 20 years in prison on Friday.
U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema sentenced Ardit Ferizi, aka Th3Dir3ctorY, to two decades behind bars for providing material support to the Islamic State and accessing a protected computer without authorization and obtaining information to provide material support to the terrorist group.
"This case represents the first time we have seen the very real and dangerous national security cyberthreat that results from the combination of terrorism and hacking," Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin said in a press release. "This was a wake-up call not only to those of us in law enforcement, but also to those in private industry."
In June 2015, Ferizi gained administrator-level access to a server that contained a website with tens of thousands of people's personal information, including members of the military and other government personnel. The hacker then stole information belong to 1,300 service members and federal officials, and turned it over to Junaid Hussain, a now-dead Islamic State recruiter and attack facilitator, according to the Justice Department.
Hussain then tweeted the information online in August, as a hit list for Islamic State advocates.
"We are in your emails and computer systems, watching and recording your every move, we have your names and addresses, we are in your emails and social media accounts, we are extracting confidential data and passing on your personal information to the soldiers of the khilafah, who soon with the permission of Allah will strike at your necks in your own lands!" the posted document stated.
The U.S. government had Ferizi detained on a provisional arrest warrest by Malaysian authorities. He was charged by criminal complaint in October, and Ferizi consented to extradition. He pleaded guilty June 15.
"As this case shows, we will reach halfway around the world if necessary to hold accountable those who engage in this type of activity," Carlin said.