Canadian man of Kazakh origins arrested over massive hack of 500 million Yahoo accounts
A 22-year-old Kazakh-Canadian man with expensive taste is facing charges of identity theft and conspiracy to commit computer fraud in connection with one of the biggest data breaches ever – the theft of 500 million Yahoo user accounts in early 2014, the Star reported.
Karim Baratov, a dual national of Kazakhstan and Canada, was arrested on Tuesday morning at his home in Ancaster, Ont. by Toronto Police and handed over to the RCMP, according to police spokesperson Mark Pugash.
Baratov is accused of being paid by two Russian spies to break into the email accounts of targeted individuals, according to a release from the U.S. Department of Justice.
The two members of the Russian intelligence agency FSB, Dmitry Dokuchaev, 33, and Igor Sushchin, 43, and Russian hacker Aleksey Belan, 29, who was on the FBI’s most wanted cyber criminals list and has been previously indicted twice for computer fraud, are facing more serious charges of criminal espionage, computer hacking and conspiracy-related offences after being indicted along with Baratov by a grand jury in northern California at the end of February.
The stolen information from the Yahoo hack was used to break into the email accounts of Russian journalists, U.S. and Russian government officials and employees in private-sector companies, according to the Justice Department release. Belan allegedly used the access to the 500 million email accounts for “personal financial gain.”
Baratov’s alleged involvement in the hacking conspiracy between January 2014 and December 2016 is detailed in an indictment filed with a San Francisco court. None of the charges have been proven in court.
Carmelo Truscello, who answered the phone at the office of Baratov’s lawyer Amadeo DiCarlo, said that the case is only at its initial stage and that the allegations are unproven.
When a target of interest had an email account other than a Yahoo one, Dokuchaev and Sushchin would assign Baratov to gain access to it, according to the indictment.
Among the targeted individuals were the former Minister of Development of a country bordering Russia and his wife, the assistant to the Deputy Chairman of the Russian Federation, employees of a major Russian cybersecurity firm, Russian officials including one who worked in the bureau that investigates cybercrime, the CEO of a metals mining company in a country bordering Russia, prominent bankers in countries bordering Russia and an International Monetary Fund official.