You are here

Sentences for Hackers: Everyone Will Get What They Deserve

The number of cyber attacks continues to increase globally. Hackers, either alone or in organized crime groups, try to interfere with digital assets of individuals and businesses. However, not all of them get off scot-free, with fitting punishment to follow. Here is a digest of court sentences imposed on cyber criminals, as prepared by InfoWatch.

In late May in San Francisco, Karim Baratov, 23 years old, a Kazakhstan and Canada citizen, was found guilty of breaking into 500+ millions of Yahoo email accounts in 2014 and was sentenced to five years in prison and a fine of $250,000. U.S. federal prosecutors say the hacking was directed by a Russian intelligence agency. At his sentencing hearing, he told the judge that his time behind bars has been “a very humbling and eye-opening experience” and promised to obey the law upon his release.

At the same time, Grant West, a British cyber criminal, has been sentenced to 10 years and eight months in jail for hacking dozens of corporate networks, data breaches, and phishing attacks. Since 2015, West has been selling the information on a 'dark web' site. Just one laptop, which belonged to West's girlfriend, was found to contain financial information on 100,000 people. As a result, an online crime spree caused millions of pounds in damages to a variety of businesses.

Previously, Vladimir Drinkman, a Russian citizen, has been sentenced before a U.S. court to 12 years in prison for his role in a notorious hacking scheme that compromised more than 160 million credit card details. Jointly with his crime associates, Drinkman sold data they had collected, fetching US$10 to US$50 apiece for credit card numbers depending on country of origin. The scheme ultimately caused banks and credit card companies to suffer hundreds of millions of dollars in losses.

Cyber crimes are usually committed by rather young people and even teenagers who were bred in a digital era and inspired by a romantic spirit of hacking. In 2015, Kane Gamble, a 15-year-old British hacker who rose to fame for hacking into the online accounts of CIA director John Brennan and other high-profile US government employees, pleaded guilty to ten hacking charges. Once 18 years old, he was finally sentenced. The judge ruled that he would have to spend the next two years at a youth detention center.

Hacking is not only about males. Recently, Paytsar Bkhchadzhyan was sentenced before a Los Angeles court to 57 months in jail after having pleaded guilty to hacking Paris Hilton’s personal accounts. Naked photographs of Paris Hilton were stolen from her iCloud account, and more than $120,000 was taken from her accounts, explosive court documents show.