Canadian who helped Yahoo email hackers gets five years in prison

Russian Hackers’ Helper in Yahoo Attack Gets 5 Years' Prison

Russian Hackers’ Helper in Yahoo Attack Gets 5 Years' Prison

Prosecutors said Baratov, 23, was an "international hacker for hire" who did little or no research of his customers. Baratov pleaded guilty previous year, admitting to providing hacker-for-hire services. He was one of several officials arrested in Moscow previous year on treason charges for allegedly passing classified information to Western intelligence agencies.

Belan and Baratov "were charged in a computer hacking conspiracy in which the two Russian FSB officers hired criminal hackers to collect information through computer intrusions in the United States and overseas, which resulted in the unauthorized access of Yahoo's network and the spear-phishing of webmail accounts at other service providers between January 2014 and December 2016", the Justice Department says.

The hacker broke into more than 11,000 web email accounts between 2010 and 2017, according to federal authorities, who linked about 80 of these break-ins to the Yahoo hack. Baratov, who said he was a for-hire hacker and had no idea he was working for the Kremlin's snoops, admitted to having broken into more than 11,000 email accounts from 2010 to March of 2017, when he was arrested and later extradited to the USA to face trial.

Prosecutors said in court papers that Baratov's Russian-language web site named "webhacker" advertised services for "hacking of email accounts without prepayment".

The data breach compromised 500 million Yahoo accounts and is one of the largest cyberattacks in history.

Also facing charges are Russian agents Dmitry Dokuchaev and Igor Sushchin, who prosecutors say used the information they stole from Yahoo to spy on Russian journalists, US and Russian government officials and employees of financial services and other private businesses.

"Deterrence is particularly important in a case like this", the judge said during the hearing. His attorneys said Baratov didn't know he was working for the Russian spy agency. Dmitry Aleksandrovich Dokuchaev and Igor Anatolyevich remain at large and prosecutors believe they are living in Russian Federation, which doesn't have an extradition treaty with the United States.

"Criminal hackers and the countries that sponsor them make a grave mistake when they target American companies and citizens".

The court documents allege Baratov claimed he could access webmail accounts maintained by Google and Russian providers such as Mail.Ru and Yandezx.

Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett also said that the "sentencing demonstrates the FBI's unwavering commitment to disrupt and prosecute malicious cyber actors despite their attempts to conceal their identities and hide from justice". He would provide his customers with a screenshot of the hacked account and promised he could change security questions so they could maintain control of the account. But he rejected prosecutors' call for a prison sentence of almost 10 years, noting Baratov's young age and clean criminal record prior to his arrest.

"The last 14 months have been a very humbling and an eye-opening experience", Mr. Baratov said ahead of his sentencing. The court has ordered him to pay a fine up to $2.25 million at $250,000 per charge, however, and to pay a restitution to his victims with any assets he has left after that.

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