Top cybersecurity arrests for 2016

December 14, 2016

Jan. 28In a first, alleged ISIL-linked hacker extradited to U.S.: In what prosecutors are calling a “first of its kind” case, a hacker linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has been extradited to the U.S. to face charges. The Kosovo citizen, Ardit Ferizi, 20, made his first appearance in a U.S. District court in Virginia.

March 2Facebook VP arrested in Brazil over government data request: Diego J. Dzodan, vice president for Latin America at Facebook, was picked up by authorities on obstruction and contempt charges, but was then released after Judge Ruy Pinheiro ruled it seemed "that the extreme measure of imprisonment was hurried.” Even if Facebook so desired, it could not heed the government request for information because the end-to-end encryption of data provided by WhatsApp puts content outside the social media giant's reach. 

March 16Teens arrested for hacking hundreds of key Instagram users: Dutch police arrested two teenagers suspected of hacking hundreds of influential Instagram users and exploiting their tens of thousands of followers. The unnamed 18- and 19-year-old males – from towns near Rotterdam and The Hague – are accused of stealing the passwords from key Instagram account-holders who may be in Holland or other countries.  The Instagram photo-sharing site is owned by Facebook and has over 400 million active users worldwide.

April 29Filipino authorities arrest two men in hack that revealed data on 55M voters: The 23-year-old mastermind behind the hack of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) website, which led to the exposure of 55 million voter records, was arrested by the Cybercrime Division of the National Bureau of Investigation in the Philippines. Jonel de Asis was picked up by authorities at his Muntinlupa City home. Another suspect, Paul Loui Biteng, also 23, was picked up last week for the hack.

May 10Alleged Syrian Electronic Army hacker extradited to U.S. to face charges: An alleged hacker for the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA), a hacking group supportive of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime, has been extradited to the U.S. from Germany. Peter Romar, 36, will face conspiracy charges related to extortion, money laundering, wire fraud, Syrian Sanctions violations, and unlawful interstate communications.

Aug. 1Authorities arrest mastermind of $60M online scam operation: A 40-year-old Nigerian national and alleged online scam artist referred to only as “Mike,” accused of bilking his victims out of more than $60 million, was arrested in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, in a joint operation involving Interpol and the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC). Mike faces charges in Nigeria that include hacking, conspiracy and obtaining money under false pretenses. An unnamed 38-year-old accomplice was also taken into custody under the same charges.

Oct. 5NSA contractor nabbed for pilfering agency codes: A National Security Agency contractor who worked for the same firm as Edward Snowden was arrested for allegedly stealing classified computer codes in 2014 that facilitate hacking into foreign government networks. The FBI nabbed 51-year-old Harold T. Martin III, who worked for Booz Allen Hamilton, after an FBI search of his home and car uncovered an abundance of highly classified documents, which Martin was not authorized to have.

Oct. 19 Czech police nab Russian suspected of hacking U.S. targets: The police of the Czech Republic announced that the FBI aided in the arrest of a Russian citizen, identified as Yevgeniy N., who is suspected of hacking U.S.-based targets. Acting on an intelligence tip and an Interpol Red Notice, authorities swooped in and apprehended the individual in a hotel located in Prague's city center.

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