A Swiss national who recently released pictures obtained from Verkada’s 150,000 internet-connected cameras has been charged with hacking.
As reported by the Justice Department, the federal grand jury in U.S. District Court in Seattle charged Till Kottmann, 21, with “computer intrusion and identity and data theft activities spanning 2019 to the present.”
Last week, Kottmann and his group hijacked video camera footage and publicly released pictures showing the interiors of offices of U.S. technology firms, an apparent interrogation at the Stoughton Police Department in Massachusetts, and the carmaker Tesla’s interior of a Shanghai factory. Other compromised locations belonged to Intel, the U.S. government’s National Reconnaissance Office, and carmaker Nissan North America.
On March 12, Swiss authorities raided Kottmann’s apartment and seized devices as part of the investigation led by the FBI’s cyber task force in Seattle.
Kottmann’s group calls itself APT 69420, aka “Arson Cats.” No other members of Arson Cats have been named in the indictment.
The group claimed the hacking into Verkada’s IT systems was an act of resistance against mass surveillance.
The indictment charged Kottmann with the hacking of “dozens of companies and government agencies” and purportedly publishing “internal files and records of more than 100 entities for public review and download.”
“Stealing credentials and data, and publishing source code and proprietary and sensitive information on the web is not protected speech – it is theft and fraud,” says acting U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman.
The indictment describes nine hacked organizations, among which the Washington State Department of Transportation. The indictment did not mention the release of the Verkada camera’s footage, although, additional evidence can still be submitted to the court later.