Hacking and data breaches were once “needle in a haystack” crimes, with international efforts to track down and apprehend the culprits typically resulting in little to show for it. With better networking and technology to help with the legwork, law enforcement officials are having more and more success in locating and arresting cybercriminals.
That’s the case with an arrest made earlier this month in a years-old data breach. The popular business and professionally oriented social media site LinkedIn was breached in 2012, and millions of passwords were stolen and leaked online. That breach is still causing related data breaches, largely thanks to individual tech users who use weak and repeated passwords.
The FBI worked closely with Interpol to track down the hacker believed to be responsible for that event, and arrested him in a Prague hotel room (without help from James Bond, although it’s easy to see why this very sentence might make you think it’s a Hollywood action film). The hacker’s identity is not being released due to the potential connections to other hackers he may provide, although authorities have stated that he’s a Russian operative.
In perhaps the internet’s least shocking news of the day, Russian officials want him extradited to Russia, while the FBI insists that he is part of a US-based criminal investigation. At the present, he’s still in Prague and a court will decide where he will end up. So far, the FBI has said there’s no reason to believe that this hacker is associated with the recent politically-motivated hacks that Russia has been accused of.
LinkedIn executives, who now say as many as 117 million sets of login credentials were stolen in that breach and then sold online, released this statement following the arrest:
“Following the 2012 breach of LinkedIn member information, we have remained actively involved with the FBI’s case to pursue those responsible. We are thankful for the hard work and dedication of the FBI in its efforts to locate and capture the parties believed to be responsible for this criminal activity.”