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Russian hacker hacked LinkedIn and DropBox: he faces years of jail in the US

A jury in San Francisco found Russian hacker Yevgeny Nikulin guilty of hacking into computers in technology companies in the Bay Area, the US Department of Justice said. Writes about this San francisco business times.

Photo: Shutterstock

The jury found that in 2012, Eugene Nikulin hacked computers owned by Dropbox in San Francisco, LinkedIn in Sunnyvale and former technology company Formspring Inc. in san francisco. He was also found guilty of damaging computers owned by LinkedIn and Formspring, installing malware on them, stealing usernames and passwords of employees on LinkedIn and Formspring, and conspiring with others to sell stolen data.

A huge violation served as a catalyst for Dropbox to deploy two-factor authentication and an automatic function that checks suspicious activity, writes Engadget.

Nikulin, 32, was in Moscow when he hacked into a LinkedIn employee’s computer in the Bay Area and installed malware on him that allowed Nikulin to remotely control the computer and use this remote computer to steal LinkedIn user login information, according to the US Attorney’s Office. Judicial evidence, according to the Department of Justice, showed that Nikulin did the same in Dropbox and Formspring, a social Q & A website that was renamed in 2013. In 2015, it became the Twoo portal, a social research project owned by Massive Media, a New York-based company.

One of the ways that investigators were able to associate Nikulin with all three companies is to track the IP address of a hacker to his location in Moscow. Nikulin was arrested during a trip to the Czech Republic in 2016.

Both the United States and Russia submitted extradition requests to him, but ultimately the Czech Republic decided to extradite him to the United States in 2018, where he has since been detained.

On the subject: Russian hackers attack remotely employed employees of companies in the USA

Nikulin's lawyer Adam Gasner said he would file a notice of appeal after sentencing, but was unlikely to represent Nikulin after filing. Gasner said he was disappointed with the verdict, and claimed that the case was too much dependent on an official document requested by the US government from the Russian government, which contained Nikulin's IP address. He said the document comes with a “Certificate of Authenticity,” which was not complete.

"We question their credibility," Gasner said of the Russian government.

Verdict against Nikulin will be handed down on September 29 by Judge Alsup in San Francisco. The maximum fine for each point of sale of stolen user names and passwords and for each point of installation of malware on secure computers is 10 years, and a fine of up to $ 250 is also imposed for this. For each point of conspiracy and computer hacking, the maximum penalty is 000 years, and there is also a fine of up to $ 5. There is also a mandatory two-year period for any aggravated theft.

The verdict was issued on July 10 during the first federal jury trial held in the Bay Area after quarantine. This was the result of a four-year investigation conducted by the FBI with the assistance of the authorities of the Czech Republic, the US Secret Service, the Criminal Division of the US Department of Justice, and the United States Department of Foreign Affairs.

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U.S. Attorney David Anderson said in an official statement:

“Nikulin's conviction is a direct threat to potential hackers, wherever they are. Computer hacking is not just a crime, it is a direct threat to the safety and privacy of Americans. US law enforcement will respond to this threat no matter where it originated. "

Gasner said this was a weird time for a jury trial, as the physical separation between lawyers and juries intensified when masked people sat behind physical barriers.

“I wonder if it influenced their opinion,” he said of the jury.

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