Two hackers, both members of a group that hit two dozen websites, including the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges Tuesday in federal court in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Nicholas Paul Knight, 27, of Chantilly, Virginia, and Daniel Trenton Krueger, 20, of Salem, Illinois, both have been released pending sentencing Aug. 27, where they face up to five years in prison.

They also both could be ordered to pay a fine of up to $250,000 and restitution.

Earlier this month, Northern District of Oklahoma U.S. Attorney Danny Williams Sr. said the two men, and others who were part of Team Digi7al, conspired to hack into computers and computer systems to steal identities, obstruct justice and damage protected computers.

Knight, the self-proclaimed leader, was an active-duty enlisted man in the Navy when he was caught trying to hack into a Navy database while at sea aboard the nuclear aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman, where he was a systems administrator in the nuclear reactor department.

In plea agreements, Knight and Krueger both acknowledged the U.S. Navy suffered a loss of $514,000 as a result of the conspiracy.

It included the cost to respond to the attack, assess damage, provide service members with identity theft and credit monitoring services and fund a call center for those potentially impacted by it.

The loss, if any, to other victims of the hacking, including UNL, wasn't listed in court records.

On June 25, 2012, a Montgomery, Alabama, minor who was part of Team Digi7al hacked into UNL's system and stole more than 100 email addresses and encrypted passwords and more than 15 full names, and cracked five passwords, federal prosecutors said.

UNL's Information Security Team learned of the 2012 exposure of email account credentials earlier this year and found that fewer than 10 of the hacked accounts were still active.

A day after that attack, Krueger, a student studying network administration at an Illinois community college, allegedly hacked into a Kawasaki database. Mike Boyle, plant manager of the Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing in Lincoln, said the Nebraska location was not affected.

That same month, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service detected a breach of the U.S. Navy's Smart Web Move database, which stored Social Security numbers, names and dates of birth for about 220,000 service members.

It tracked back to Knight.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7237 or lpilger@journalstar.com. On Twitter @LJSpilger.



Lori Pilger is a public safety reporter.

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