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Hacker faces 20 years in prison for helping ISIS

Ardit Ferizi is the first hacker prosecuted in the US for an act of terrorism.
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Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP/Getty Images

The US just broke new ground in its bid to fight pro-terrorist hackers. A judge has sentenced Kosovo citizen Ardit Ferizi to 20 years in prison for hacking a US company in order to collect information about 1,300 government and military personnel and help ISIS create a hit list. It's the country's first conviction for terrorism-related hacking, according to Assistant Attorney General John Carlin. Ferizi pleaded guilty on June 15th, roughly 8 months after Malaysian police arrested him on the US' behalf.

The 20-year term isn't as tough as it could have been (Ferizi was facing a maximum of 35 years), but American officials still see it as a warning. The case "sends a message" to those who'd materially support terrorist groups, Carlin says -- the US will come after you, and you'll get much more than a slap on the wrist. This isn't going to deter the most committed ISIS hackers (at least not those operating from ISIS-occupied territories), but it may give pause to others who are still considering cyberattacks.

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