PITTSBURGH—Alexander Waterland, 24, of Loveland, Ohio, has been charged with making Internet threats and violating the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act for posting on YouTube a video and a comment which threatened the University of Pittsburgh, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.
According to the criminal complaint, the video was posted on YouTube on April 26, 2012 by User ID AnonOperative13. Titled “Anonymous Message to The University Of Pittsburgh,” the video claimed that the computer hacking group known as Anonymous had hacked into the University of Pittsburgh’s computer system and stolen records related to students, faculty, and alumni. Part of the video contained a demand that the University chancellor issue a public apology for not safeguarding students’ welfare or the stolen information would be publicly released. On May 2, 2012, AnonOperative13 posted a comment about the video, which included information about specific university employees, and stated terms and a deadline for the apology.
Investigators were able to determine that the identity of AnonOperative13 is Alexander Waterland, of 2000 Loveland Madeira Road, Loveland, Ohio.
“These charges pertain to specific cyber threats in April and May of this year that targeted the University of Pittsburgh and caused disruption in campus operations,” stated U.S. Attorney Hickton. “These threats were part of the series of threats received by the University since February. The investigation is comprehensive and ongoing.”
Waterland was arrested this morning by special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Pittsburgh and Cincinnati Field Offices. He will make an initial appearance today at 1:30 p.m. in federal court in the Southern District of Ohio.
The charges carry a maximum penalty of seven years in prison, a fine of $500,000, or both. The charges announced today are merely allegations, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.
Assistant U.S. Attorney James T. Kitchen is prosecuting this case for the government.
The FBI Pittsburgh Division and the University of Pittsburgh Police Department conducted the investigation leading to the charges against Waterland.