Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Attacks/Breaches

Hacker Sentenced to 5 Years in Yahoo Credential Theft Case

Karim Baratov given prison time and seven-figure fine after guilty plea in the massive Yahoo data breach

One of the most prominent computer hacking cases in recent years reached a new chapter as Karim Baratov was sentenced to five years in prison and fined an amount equivalent to his remaining assets. Baratov, a Kazakhstan-born Canadian citizen, was sentenced for his role in the massive Yahoo credentials breach that exposed more than 1 billion records to criminals.

Karim Baratov, aka Kay, aka Karim Taloverov, aka Karim Akehmet Tokbergenov, pleaded guilty to nine charges stemming from the breaches. In addition, he admitted to attempting to hack at least 80 Web mail accounts on behalf of co-conspirators, and to hacking more than 11,000 webmail accounts in total from 2010 through March of 2017.

Baratov was one of four individuals charged in the case, the other three being Russian citizens including two officers of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB). The other three indicted co-conspirators are Dmitry Aleksandrovich Dokuchaev, Igor Anatolyevich Sushchin, and Alexsey Alexseyevich Belan, (aka Magg, one the FBI's most-wanted cybercriminals), all of whom are currently living in Russia.

Officials from the Department of Justice said in statements that the sentence reflects the serious nature of both the crimes and the way that the DoJ views nation-state sponsored criminal hacking. Baratov was a "hacker for hire" who became a resource of the FSB when it came to gathering credentials that could be used for further breaches.

In pre-sentencing motions, Baratov's lawyers had argued that his mercenary nature made him less culpable for his crime, because he didn't know that he was being hired by the FSB — he would hack an account for anyone. Baratov had claimed that most of his customers were individuals looking for information about the online habits of spouses or lovers, though Department of Justice prosecutors argued that the FSB's request for 80 sets of credentials made the claim less credible in this case.

Ultimately, Baratov was given a sentence that, while lengthy for a cybercrime, was less than the maximum possible under the law. The government had argued for a longer sentence on the grounds that nation-state hacking must be considered more serious than "average" criminal activity.

Related Content:

Curtis Franklin Jr. is Senior Editor at Dark Reading. In this role he focuses on product and technology coverage for the publication. In addition he works on audio and video programming for Dark Reading and contributes to activities at Interop ITX, Black Hat, INsecurity, and ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
REISEN1955
50%
50%
REISEN1955,
User Rank: Ninja
6/4/2018 | 12:37:59 PM
Re: Nation State Hacking
Agree in nature of Yahoo - a fading search engine and right up there with anyone who has --- yes, they still do - an AOL email account.   
RyanSepe
50%
50%
RyanSepe,
User Rank: Ninja
5/31/2018 | 3:20:30 PM
Nation State Hacking
While I agree that nation state hacking needs to be handled more stringently than private campaigns, I still think proposing a less than maximum sentence fits the crime. I think we need to keep in perspective what was stolen. Yahoo accounts really don't provide individuals with up front sensitive data. This would need to be gleaned through a deep dive of each individual account. 
Data Privacy Protections for the Most Vulnerable -- Children
Dimitri Sirota, Founder & CEO of BigID,  10/17/2019
Sodinokibi Ransomware: Where Attackers' Money Goes
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  10/15/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
7 Threats & Disruptive Forces Changing the Face of Cybersecurity
This Dark Reading Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at the biggest emerging threats and disruptive forces that are changing the face of cybersecurity today.
Flash Poll
2019 Online Malware and Threats
2019 Online Malware and Threats
As cyberattacks become more frequent and more sophisticated, enterprise security teams are under unprecedented pressure to respond. Is your organization ready?
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-18214
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-19
The Video_Converter app 0.1.0 for Nextcloud allows denial of service (CPU and memory consumption) via multiple concurrent conversions because many FFmpeg processes may be running at once. (The workload is not queued for serial execution.)
CVE-2019-18202
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-19
Information Disclosure is possible on WAGO Series PFC100 and PFC200 devices before FW12 due to improper access control. A remote attacker can check for the existence of paths and file names via crafted HTTP requests.
CVE-2019-18209
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-19
templates/pad.html in Etherpad-Lite 1.7.5 has XSS when the browser does not encode the path of the URL, as demonstrated by Internet Explorer.
CVE-2019-18198
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-18
In the Linux kernel before 5.3.4, a reference count usage error in the fib6_rule_suppress() function in the fib6 suppression feature of net/ipv6/fib6_rules.c, when handling the FIB_LOOKUP_NOREF flag, can be exploited by a local attacker to corrupt memory, aka CID-ca7a03c41753.
CVE-2019-18197
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-18
In xsltCopyText in transform.c in libxslt 1.1.33, a pointer variable isn't reset under certain circumstances. If the relevant memory area happened to be freed and reused in a certain way, a bounds check could fail and memory outside a buffer could be written to, or uninitialized data could be disclo...