Anonymous connected in threats against the University of Pittsburgh

Three men, including two men who claimed to be part of Anonymous, were charged this past week with making threats against the University of Pittsburgh.

Between March 30 and April 21, 2012, the University of Pittsburgh received over 40 email bomb threats directed at its buildings.  An email “open letter” claiming to be from “the threateners” claimed the reason for the threats was that the University had posted a $10,000 reward for prior bomb threats that had been written on walls at the University. The open letter called that a “prank” by a “kid”, and expressed disturbance at the school Chancellor’s response of offering a reward to track down the perpetrator. The open letter claimed the writers were “disrupting the University to teach the Chancellor a lesson”.

Over 100 evacuations took place, disrupting classes and dormitories, causing great concern throughout the university and surrounding area, and costing the University over $300,000.  According to the FBI, these threats were made by Adam Stuart Busby, a resident of Dublin Ireland.  Authorities also are charging extortion because the threateners said they would stop if the reward, now $50,000, was withdrawn.  The University withdrew the offer and the threats ceased.

Busby is also charged with subsequently threatening the US attorney and sending bomb threats pertaining to the federal courthouses in Pittsburgh and in Erie.

Collectively Busby was charged with wire fraud(the emails),  extortion, and spreading false information. Busby is in custody in Ireland on other charges. He has a long history of threats against various governments and entities. See the indictments here and here.

On April 26, the University was threatened again over the internet by a video posted by “AnonOperative13”.  The video claimed that Anonymous had hacked the University servers and stolen confidential information including credit cards and grades of students.  The video asked that the University apologize to the students for Anonymous’ ability to access the information.  Unless the University apologized, the video promised the information would be published for all to see.

Alexander Waterland, 24, and Brett Hudson, 26, both of Ohio, were charged in relation to the video with sending threats and stealing data.

Alexander Waterland

The maximum penalty for wire fraud is 20 years in prison, for  false information is 10 years in prison, for extortionate threats is two years in prison. Because all counts charged are felonies, the maximum fine on each count is $250,000. The law provides for a maximum sentence of five years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both, for Waterland and Hudson. Under the federal sentencing guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the
offenses and the prior criminal history if any, of the defendants

Although the connection between the two Ohio men and Busby was not specified, they were charged together and Waterland is mentioned in Busby’s indictment. It is not clear at this time if Busby is also alleged to be part of Anonymous, although that would explain the connection.

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