Hacking has been in the news quite a lot lately. Just last week a major distributed denial of service attack, or DDoS resulted in a host of sites being down most of the day. Pinterest, Ebay, Netflix and Twitter were all offline for hours. In the wake of the hacked baby-monitor scare last year and the 2013 Target credit card hack, cyber security is becoming more and more of an issue.
For this reason, the federal government has made a point of addressing cyber security as a major issue even when it doesn’t directly affect them. This can be seen in the enormous effort expended by the federal government to indict Yevgeniy Aleksandrovich Nikulin, a 29-year-old Russian man from Moscow, for hacking.
According to court documents, Nikulin has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges including computer intrusion and aggravated identity theft. He is accused of hacking numerous major data storage companies, including LinkedIn, Dropbox and Formspring. He is accused of conspiring to sell stolen information, including usernames, passwords, and email addresses.
The allegations against him, which stem from 2012, say that he hacked the companies websites, and then illegally accessed private information, including usernames, passwords and email addresses. He is said to have sent an illegal program to a LinkedIn employee’s computer. That allowed him to steal that employee’s username and password. Once he had this information, Nikulin used it to access the company’s computers.
According to LinkedIn, the breach of their security in 2012 resulted in 100 million of their users’ personal information being compromised. In a statement released to the public, LinkedIn says that they appreciate the fact that the FBI is pursuing whomever is responsible for the
However, while the charges have been filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Francisco, California, Nikulin was arrested in the Czech Republic, where he is currently being held. The United States is currently attempting to extradite him in order for him to face charges. Russian officials have made public statements about the fact that they are working to prevent his extradition back to the United States.
Officials say this may be linked to Russia’s other hacks on the U.S.
This appears to be part of a larger issue that exists currently between the Unites States and Russia. The U.S. has accused Russia of coordinating the theft and public disclosure of the Democratic National Committee’s emails, along with those of other institutions and individuals. Allegedly the leak was done in the name of influencing the outcome of next month’s elections.
Currently, there is no proof beyond accusations, that the hacking of LinkedIn by Nikulin was in any way tied to the alleged coordinated hacking of the U.S. by Russia. In addition, Russia has denied that they are involved in any way with hacking sensitive materials from the United States.
Using a computer to infiltrate the private and guarded information owned by an individual or a company, called hacking, is against the law. Anyone caught accessing the private data of any company or person without permission is likely to face harsh penalties, usually on a federal level.
If you are interested in hacking and would like to try your hand at it, go to Google’s Vulnerability Reward Program. Google pays hackers to try hacking into their system in order to find and expose weaknesses in their system. This way you can hack something challenging without breaking the law, and maybe earn a little cash on the side.
The attorneys at The Kronzek Firm have represented clients accused of computer crimes for decades. Our criminal defense team can be reached 24/7 at 1 866-766-5245.