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| Crime |

Anonymous' Barrett Brown Faces Additional Charges Surrounding Hack of Intelligence Firm Stratfor

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Last we heard from Barrett Brown was the rambling, mournful letter he wrote from Mansfield Federal Detention Center, where he was taken after his dramatic arrest at his girlfriend's apartment in Dallas.

The feds are making doubly sure he stays there, having filed additional charges today against Brown, who might be described as a spokesman for the loosely organized hacktivist collective Anonymous were the group not so loosely organized.

The new charges stem from a Christmas Day attack against Stratfor, a U.S.-based intelligence gathering firm, in which Anonymous hackers stole some 5.5 million emails, some of which were later published on WikiLeaks. Brown allegedly facilitated the hack by posting a hyperlink in an Internet Relay Chat channel he controlled, thereby providing others access to the credit card information and identities of 5,000 individuals in the Stratfor database.

That's count one: knowingly trafficking in stolen authentication features. Count two alleges that Brown kept at least some of this credit card information for several months in an attempt to defraud the card holders. He is also charged with 10 counts of aggravated identity theft. All told, Brown could face up to 45 years in prison and a $3 million fine on the new counts alone.

Another Anonymous hacker, Jeremy Hammond, has been accused of orchestrating the Stratfor attack and could face life in prison.

Brown is scheduled to go to trial Monday for the original charges, which stemmed from alleged threats against an FBI agent he posted on YouTube and Twitter. I'd expect that to be postponed, but we'll see.

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