Jeremy Hammond (born January 8, 1985) is an American activist and computer hacker from Chicago. He founded the computer security training website HackThisSite in 2003. He was convicted of computer fraud in 2013 for hacking the private intelligence firm Stratfor and releasing data to the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks, and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
January 8, 1985
|Relatives||Jason Hammond (twin brother)|
Hammond was raised in the Chicago suburb of Glendale Heights, Illinois, with his twin brother Jason. Hammond became interested in computers at an early age, programming video games in QBasic by age eight, and building databases by age thirteen. As a student at Glenbard East High School in the nearby suburb of Lombard, Hammond won first place in a district-wide science competition for a computer program he designed. Also in high school, he became a peace activist, organizing a student walkout on the day of the Iraq invasion and starting a student newspaper to oppose the Iraq War. His high school principal described Hammond as "old beyond his years".
Hammond attended the University of Illinois at Chicago on a full scholarship. In the spring of 2004, during his freshman year, he exploited a security flaw on the computer science department's website and went to department administrators, offering to help fix the security flaws on the site and looking to get a job. For inserting the backdoor, Hammond was called before the department chair and ultimately banned from returning for his sophomore year.
Jeremy, along with his brother Jason, has had a lifelong interest in music, performing in numerous bands through the years. Before Jeremy's arrests, they were both actively performing in the Chicago ska band Dirty Surgeon Insurgency.
Hammond worked as a Mac technician in Villa Park, Illinois. He also worked as a web developer for Chicago-based Rome & Company. His boss at Rome & Company wrote in 2010 that Hammond is "friendly, courteous and polite and while we suspect he has a low tolerance for corporate posturing, he has never demonstrated any contempt for business in the workplace".
Hammond founded the computer security training website HackThisSite at age 18, during the summer after his high school graduation. The website describes itself as "a non-profit organization that strives to protect a good security culture and learning atmosphere". In its first two years the site got 2.5 million hits and acquired 110,000 members and a volunteer staff of 34.
During the 2004 DEF CON event in Las Vegas, Hammond delivered a talk that encouraged "electronic civil disobedience" as a means of protest against the annual Republican National Convention and its supporters.
On March 5, 2012, Hammond was arrested by FBI agents in the Bridgeport neighborhood of Chicago for actions related to the 2012–13 Stratfor email leak. The indictment was unsealed the following day in the Lower Manhattan federal district court. He was one of six individuals from the United States, England and Ireland indicted.
The arrests were largely due to the FBI informant known as Sabu. Fox News in Manhattan was first to break the story based on "access to Sabu's handlers" of three arrests "on two continents", a sealed federal indictment for six, and a "separate indictment" for Hammond. The story was later confirmed by other news agencies when the court papers were unsealed.
The case was prosecuted by the office of Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Hammond was represented by Elizabeth Fink, "a firebrand attorney" with the National Lawyers Guild who won a settlement of $8 million against the Government of New York for ex-inmates of the Attica Prison riot.
In November 2012, after being held for eight months without trial, Hammond was denied bail by Judge Loretta A. Preska, who warned that he could face life imprisonment for the Stratfor leak.[dead link]
In February 2013, the defense filed a motion asking presiding Judge Preska to recuse herself from the case on the basis that Preska's husband, Thomas Kavaler, had an email address released in the Stratfor disclosure and works with Stratfor clients that were affected by the hack. Hammond's legal team stated that Kavaler's status "as both a victim of the alleged crimes of the accused and an attorney to many other victims creates an appearance of partiality too strong to be disregarded, requiring disqualification". On February 21, 2013, Judge Preska denied the request for recusal because her husband did not recall subscribing to Stratfor's mailing list and the only information released was his publicly available work e-mail address, and that Hammond's alleged legal strategy was to have every judge recuse themselves until there were no judges left to try the case.
After pleading guilty to one count of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), Hammond was sentenced on November 15, 2013, to the maximum of ten years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release.
In his sentencing statement, Hammond said he was unaware of Stratfor's vulnerabilities until he was given them by Sabu, who was "under the supervision of the FBI" at the time according to the FBI's sealed complaint filed against Hammond.
Among the public figures who have spoken in support of Hammond's release are Yes Men activist Andy Bichlbaum, journalist John Knefel, free software activist Richard Stallman, Pulitzer Prize-winning former New York Times journalist Chris Hedges, Center for Constitutional Rights President Emeritus Michael Ratner, journalist Alexa O'Brien, National Lawyers Guild Executive Director Heidi Boghosian Icelandic parliamentarian Birgitta Jónsdóttir, and former Weather Underground member Bill Ayers Distinguished Professor Emeritus in Education (ret.) at University of Illinois at Chicago, and his wife, Bernardine Dohrn Associate Professor of Law at Northwestern University, as well as Northwestern University philosophy professor Peter Ludlow. Also in solidarity are Julian Assange, editor of WikiLeaks; Larry Lessig, director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University; and Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg.
- Luman, Stuart. Chicago Magazine, July 2007. "The Hacktivist"
- Hayes, Christopher. Chicago Reader, August 15, 2005. "But Can He Hack Prison?"
- Free Jeremy.Net
- Perlroth, Nicole. New York Times, March 12, 2012. "Inside the Stratfor Attack"
- Poulson, Kevin. Wired, November 15, 2013. "Anonymous Hacktivist Jeremy Hammond Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison"
- "The Rise and Fall of Jeremy Hammond: Enemy of the State".
- "Chicago hacking suspect a genius without wisdom, mom says", March 7, 2012, Chicago Tribune
- "Chicago man accused in international hacking bust", March 6, 2012, Chicago Sun-Times
- "HackThisSite.Org Bill of Rights". Archived from the original on 2013-05-09. Retrieved 2013-05-03.
- Hammond, Jeremy. DEF CON 2004, Las Vegas. "Electronic Civil Disobedience"[dead link]
- Anderson, Nate. March 2012. "Stakeout: how the FBI tracked and busted a Chicago Anon"
- Goudie, Chuck. ABC7 Chicago, March 6, 2012. "Chicagoan charged in international cyber attacks" Archived 2012-03-11 at the Wayback Machine
- Lighty, Todd and Wailin Wong. Chicago Tribune, March 6, 2012. "Chicago man, 27, charged in cyber attack"
- Esposito, Richard, Aaron Katersky and Pierre Thomas. ABC News, March 6, 2012. "LulzSec 'Leader' Turns on Fellow Hacktivists"
- Bright, Arthur. Christian Science Monitor, March 8, 2012. "Jeremy Hammond, alleged to be 'Anarchaos'"
- Sengupta, Somini. New York Times, March 6, 2012. "Arrests Sow Mistrust Inside a Clan of Hackers"
- United States Department of Justice, March 6, 2012. "Six Hackers in the United States and Abroad Charged for Crimes Affecting Over One Million Victims" Archived 2012-03-11 at the Wayback Machine
- Anderson, Nate. Ars Technica, March 6, 2012. "LulzSec leader "Sabu" worked with FBI since last summer"
- Winter, Jana. FoxNews.com, March 6, 2012. "EXCLUSIVE: Infamous international hacking group LulzSec brought down by own leader"
- Winter, Jana. FoxNews.com, March 6, 2012. EXCLUSIVE: Inside LulzSec, a mastermind turns on his minions"
- Winter, Jana. FoxNews.com, March 6, 2012. "EXCLUSIVE: Unmasking the world's most wanted hacker"
- Estes, Adam Clark. The Atlantic Wire, March 6, 2012. "FBI Says LulzSec Hacker Kingpin Was an Informant"
- Ball, James. The Guardian (UK), March 6, 2012. "LulzSec court papers reveal extensive FBI co-operation with hackers"
- Hurtado, Patricia and Michael Riley. Bloomberg, March 6, 2012. "Hackers Charged in Crackdown on LulzSec, Anonymous Groups"
- Winter, Jana. FoxNews.com, March 15, 2012. "LulzSec-linked hacker who threatened to burn White House appears in court"
- The Economist, September 23, 2011. "A bloody day in New York: The Attica prison uprising"
- Tully, Tracey. New York Daily News, January 5, 2000."Ex-attica Inmates Get $8m In Riot Suit"
- Ratner, Michael. The Nation, September 12, 2011. "From Attica to Pelican Bay"
- "Anonymous hacker behind Stratfor attack faces life in prison" Archived 2012-11-24 at the Wayback Machine, 23 November 2012, RT.com
- "Chicago man denied bail before NYC hacking trial" Archived 2012-11-24 at the Wayback Machine, November 21, 2012, Chicago Tribune
- "Jeremy Hammond's legal team seeks judge's recusal"
- "Judge Rules No Evidence to Disqualify Her from Hearing Case of Alleged Stratfor Hacker Jeremy Hammond"
- "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-10-03. Retrieved 2015-02-03.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Ed Pilkington, "Jailed Anonymous hacker Jeremy Hammond: 'My days of hacking are done'", The Guardian, November 15, 2013.
- "Sealed Complaint, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA vs. JEREMY HAMMOND" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-12-21.
- "The Stratfor Case". Free Jeremy. Retrieved June 20, 2017.
- "Jeremy Hammond support rally at Judge Preska's recusal hearing"
- Richard Stallman (January 2015). "My letter asking the judge not to sentence Jeremy Hammond to prison" (PDF) (pdf). stallman.org. Retrieved December 24, 2015.
- "Hedges: Jeremy Hammond Exposed State's Plan to Criminalize Democratic Dissent". The Real News, 16 November 2013.
- Chris Hedges (17 November 2013). Feeding the Flame of Revolt. Truthdig. Retrieved 20 November 2013.
- "Jeremy HammoEduca Conference", November 29, 2012, NYC
- "Michael Ratner statement of support (edited transcript)" Archived 2013-05-07 at the Wayback Machine michaelratner.com
- "National Lawyer's Guild Press Release" Archived 2013-05-10 at the Wayback Machine nlg.org
- "April 10, 2013 court date recap" freehammond.com
- "Icelandic Lawmaker Birgitta Jónsdóttir on Challenging Gov't Secrecy from Twitter to Bradley Manning" April 8, 2013, democracynow.org
- "The Real War on Reality"
- Reitman, Janet (December 7, 2012). "The Rise and Fall of Jeremy Hammond: Enemy of the State". Rolling Stone.