Tech

Feds Charge Russian Hacker For Attacks On Social Networking Sites

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Eric Lieberman Deputy Editor

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is charging a Russian citizen for hacking social networking sites, stealing people’s personal information, and then trying to sell the data.

Yevgeniy Nikulin is accused of “obtaining information from computers, causing damage to computers, trafficking in access devices, aggravated identity theft and conspiracy,” according to the DOJ official press release Friday. The indictment was announced by U.S. Attorney Brian J. Stretch for the Northern District of California and Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett of the FBI.

Nikulin allegedly accessed LinkedIn, Dropbox, and Formspring (now Spring.me) computers, without authorization. The three tech companies are based in the San Francisco Bay area.

Nikulin damaged the LinkedIn and Formspring devices “by transmitting a program, information, code, or command,” most likely in the form of malware.

He is also accused of using the credentials of these employees to complete the cyber-intrusions and even attempting to traffic the stolen data with co-conspirators.

Nikulin was arrested on Oct. 5 by Czech Republic officials “pursuant to an Interpol Red Notice based on a warrant” according to the press release. He was in custody in Prague, Czech Republic as of Friday.

More than 117 million LinkedIn users‘ emails and passwords were put up for sale in May, according to Motherboard, after it was originally reported the breach affect 6.5 million accounts.

Hackers stole the personal information of more than 68 million Dropbox users in 2012, which was also first reported by Motherboard.

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