Suffolk: Neighbours’ shock of minister’s son Lauri Love’s US hacking allegation arrest

Protester Lauri Love at the Occupy Glasgow camp in George Square, Glasgow.

Protester Lauri Love at the Occupy Glasgow camp in George Square, Glasgow. - Credit: PA

Neighbours of a Baptist minister’s son who has been charged with hacking into the computer systems of the US army, Nasa and other federal agencies have spoken of their shock.

Lauri Love, 28, from Suffolk, was arrested by officers from the National Crime Agency (NCA) under the Computer Misuse Act (CMA). He has been released on police bail until next February. but could ultimately face an extradition battle with US authorities.

Neighbours of his family’s home on the Highpoint estate near the village of Stradishall said they saw police removing computer equipment from the property over the weekend.

Student Kayleigh Streeton, 18, said: “My brother came home and saw police cars park up outside and they were taking computers away.

“We knew there was something going on but it wasn’t until we heard it on the news that we realised what he was accused of.

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“You didn’t see him around the estate much and, when you do see him out, he mostly keeps to himself.

“His parents are friendly with their neighbours and they seem like nice people.”

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Another resident said: “We didn’t have any suspicions and to think something like that might have happened under our noses is certainly a surprise.”

Love, who in the past has taken part in protests for Occupy, the global “anti-greed movement”, did not answer the door at the home he shares with his parents.

His father Alexander Love, 60, a Baptist minister, works as a chaplain at HMP Highpoint North. His mother Sirkka-Liisa Love, 59, also works at the jail as a teacher.

They are believed to have moved to the estate about four years ago from Lowestoft.

NCA spokesman Andy Archibald said: “This arrest is the culmination of close joint working by the NCA, Police Scotland and our international partners.

“Cyber-criminals should be aware that no matter where in the world you commit cyber crime, even from remote places, you can and will be identified and held accountable for your actions.

“The NCA has well-developed law enforcement alliances globally and we will pursue and deal robustly with cyber-criminals.”

Under the CMA, individuals can be arrested for launching attacks from within the UK against computers anywhere in the world.

Reports claimed Love and alleged co-conspirators - believed to be in Australia and Sweden - stole information about government employees, including military service members, by hacking into government networks and leaving behind “back doors” through which they could return to get data.

Neither of his alleged co-conspirators has been charged in connection with hacking.

An indictment served in a US court included pieces of instant message conversations that Love allegedly had with his partners.

In one, he is said to have written: “Ahaha, we owning lots of nasa sites.”

In another exchange, he said “This ... stuff is really sensitive”, according to prosecutors.

Love has been charged by US authorities, but only arrested by British investigators, the NCA confirmed.

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