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Ex-employee of DOE Pleads Guilty to Spear Phishing Colleagues

According to Department-of-Justice, Charles Harvey Eccleston recently admitted that in January 2015, he tried a spear phishing assault targeted at several dozen electronic mail ids of the Department-of-Energy's employees.

Eccleston, aged 62, was an erstwhile worker of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission as well as DOE. On 27th March, 2015, officials from the Philippine arrested him following a secret sting operation by the FBI.

FBI in its statement referred to Eccleston as conniving towards hijacking PC-networks of the federal department via the distribution of extremely targeted e-mails to existing employees. The electronic mails he believed had web-links leading onto malicious software capable of enabling remote hackers to gain entry into the network. Such attacks typically get known as spear phishing wherein one particular individual is sent an e-mail addressing him by his name as well as referencing particular aspects about his job duties.

However, according to FBI, the attack transferred neither any malicious code nor any PC-virus into the government PCs. There wasn't at all any virus in the e-mails since within the sting operation; FBI supplied one false web-link to Eccleston.

Court documents indicate that FBI first became aware of Eccleston during 2013 when in Manila he went to one foreign embassy telling it he could sell 5,000-plus e-mail ids belonging to the entire batch of employees, engineers and officials working in American government energy department.

Eccleston said he would charge $18,800 for all ids that were top secret. But, the embassy said its country didn't require America government information, so what would he do then to which Eccleston stated he'd hand over the list to Venezuela/Iran or China since he was sure those countries would welcome it. Newsroomamerica posted this, February 3, 2016.

On 27th March, 2015, Philippine officials detained Eccleston while he held an encounter with the detective for getting a payment of USD 80K for his offer. Subsequently, authorities deported him to USA where he recently pleaded guilty.

Eccleston will possibly get a 24-30-month jail along with a maximum of $95,000 penalty. Eccleston, who's a grandpa and now a computer hacker, is scheduled to hear his sentence April 18, 2016 in Washington.

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