In a press release from the Washington state attorney’s office, the Swiss hacker Tillie Kottmann is accused of “conspiracy, telecommunications fraud and serious identity theft”. Kottmann, »also known as› deletescape ‹and› tillie crimew ‹«, is said to have broken into someone else’s computer since 2019 and to have »stolen identities and data« in the process. She was charged for the first time in 2020 and informed about the new allegations at her place of residence in Lucerne.
Specifically, she is accused of having hacked “dozens of companies and government institutions” by March 2021, publishing confidential data and information and making them available for download in more than a hundred cases.
Kottmann recently made headlines through a leak in recordings by the US camera manufacturer Verkada, whose security cameras are used in the USA by state institutions, but also by the car manufacturer Tesla.
Kottmann had sent several gigabytes of video recordings from these cameras to the US media. At the time, Kottmann told the TV broadcaster CBS that her group of hackers, known as APT-69420, had discovered the access data to the company’s servers on a server that was openly accessible via the Internet.
Two days later, the Swiss police carried out a search of Kottmann’s house and, according to Bloomberg, confiscated several electronic devices. The search warrant did not refer to the Verkada hack, but to another case by the Washington Public Prosecutor’s Office against Kottmann. It is about an investigation into “intrusion into computer databases and the subsequent dissemination of information such as source code, confidential documents and internal user data”.
Up to 20 years in prison
The FBI has confiscated the website git.rip, through which Kottmann and other members of her hacker group reportedly distributed data from their hacks. Whoever calls it up only sees a warning from the investigating authority.
Washington Assistant Attorney Tessa M. Gorman believes that the activists’ actions are not covered by the right to freedom of expression. “The theft of access data and data as well as the publication of source code and protected and sensitive information on the Internet is not a protected expression of opinion – it is theft and fraud,” said the prosecutor. “Wrapping yourself up in a supposedly altruistic motive does not remove the criminal smell of such intrusion, theft and fraud.”
Should a conviction one day come up, Kottmann faces prison sentences of up to 20 years in the USA.