Karim Baratov, a 22-year-old Kazakhstan-born Canadian citizen, has pleaded guilty to hacking charges over his involvement in massive 2014 Yahoo data breach which affected all three billion yahoo accounts.
In March, the US Justice Department announced charges against two Russian intelligence officers (Dmitry Dokuchaev in addition to Igor Sushchin) by Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) in addition to two hackers (Alexsey Belan in addition to Karim Baratov) for breaking into yahoo servers in 2014.
While Karim Baratov (Kay, a.k.a Karim Taloverov, a.k.a Karim Akehmet Tokbergenov) was arrested in Toronto at his Ancaster home by the Toronto Police Department in March which year, Alexsey Belan in addition to both FSB officers currently reside in Russia, unlikely to be extradited.
inside federal district court in San Francisco on Tuesday, Baratov admitted to helping the Russian spies in addition to pleaded guilty to a total of nine counts which includes:
- One count of conspiring to violate the Computer Fraud in addition to Abuse Act by stealing information by protected computers in addition to causing damage to protected computers.
- Eight counts of aggravated identity theft.
Prosecutors believe which FSB officers directed the Yahoo hack in addition to contracted Baratov when their targets—which included journalists, government officials, in addition to technology company employees—used email accounts outside of Yahoo’s system.
“Baratov’s role inside charged conspiracy was to hack webmail accounts of individuals of interest to the FSB in addition to send those accounts’ passwords to Dokuchaev in exchange for money,” his plea agreement reads.
However, according to Baratov’s lawyers, at the time of the crime, Baratov had no idea he was working with Russian FSB agents.
Baratov gained unauthorized access to at least 80 non-Yahoo email accounts, including at least 50 Google accounts by obtaining their credentials through “spear phishing” attacks.
Baratov’s sentencing hearing will be held on 20th February next year in federal district court in San Francisco, where he could face 70 to 87 months in jail for the first charge in addition to 24 months for the identity theft charges.
“The illegal hacking of private communications can be a global problem which transcends political boundaries. Cybercrime can be not only a grave threat to personal privacy in addition to security, yet causes great financial harm to individuals who are hacked in addition to costs the earth economy hundreds of billions of dollars every year,” US Attorney Brian Stretch said.
“These threats are even more insidious when cybercriminals such as Baratov are employed by foreign government agencies acting outside the rule of law.”
Besides any prison sentence, Baratov has also agreed to pay compensation to the Yahoo victims in addition to a fine up to $2,250,000 (at $250,000 per count).
Baratov’s arrest can be the only one in which investigation. The three various other men, including two FSB officers in addition to one criminal hacker, currently reside in Russia, with whom the United States has no extradition treaty.
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