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Man Pleads Guilty to ‘Hacker for Hire’ Charges

Hacker for hire pleads guilty in court

Being a ‘hacker for hire’ is a big business. Advertising on the deep or dark web, these people sell their programming services for a number of reasons. A Canadian man has however found himself the centre of what could perhaps be a landmark case in the matter of online security.

In 2014 as many as 500 million Yahoo accounts were compromised in a cyber-attack. This was found to be the work of Canadian, Karim Baratov. He may have viewed this as a simple job (I have no idea of the complexity), but what he didn’t know was who his employer was. Well, unfortunately for him, it just happened to be the Russian Federal Security Service who employed him for the task. It was at this point, that Mr Baratov knew, that he’d fudged up.

Had he hacked Yahoo of his own volition his current prospects might look better. While still being in some big trouble, it would doubtless not have been anything as deep as the trouble he’s currently in. In fairness to Karim Baratov, he’s wasn’t the first to successfully hack Yahoo, but the Russian links are a definite factor in this case.

Charges and potential punishment!

When I first heard of the report via the BBC, I was curious as to what he would exactly be charged with. Being charged with a variety of security offences, I did consider the possibility of treason. Yes, I know, this would have been inadvertent. Still, I imagine Mr Baratov also considered this possibility when he finally heard who he’d actually been working for.

Over the years, Yahoo has admitted that nearly 1 billion accounts have been compromised and while that might sound like an incredible number, bear in mind that this specific attacked caused at least half of that figure.

Due to be sentenced in February 2018, Mr Baratov could be facing a sentence as high as 28 years. It’s certainly a story which might make ‘hackers for hire’ think again.

What do you think? Should his sentence reflect the Russian involvement? Should he be charged the same as any hacker? – Let us know in the comments!

Mike Sanders

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