A Canadian that was accused of partnering with some Russian intelligence agents has pleaded guilty. Karim Baratov was accused of taking part in the massive data breach of Yahoo accounts that happened three years ago.
Back in February, Karim Baratov pleaded guilty to the charges made against him in front of a grand jury in the Northern District of California. He admitted his involvement in the hacking of Yahoo email accounts and afterward selling the passwords to an agent of the Russian intelligence. This information was released by the U.S Department of justice earlier today.
The 22-year old Kazakhstan was arrested in Canada earlier this year after the request was made U.S prosecutors. The charges against Baratov was announced by the DOJ back in March. He was charged to court alongside three other men, two of which were officers in the Russian Federal Security Service. The four were accused of playing roles in the massive data breach of over 500 million Yahoo accounts back in 2014.
After the charges were made, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that there is no way that FSB employees could be involved in the data breach. Back in June, U.S largest mobile carrier network Verizon Communications Inc. decided to acquire most of the asset of Yahoo Inc.
U.S prosecutors believe that the FSB officers Dmitry Dokuchaev and Igor Sushchin orchestrated and paid some hackers to get passwords and account information from Yahoo. The duo used a man named Alexsey Belan who is currently one of the most wanted cybercriminals in the world, to carry out their mission.
Later on, after the FSB agents learned that a target uses a non-Yahoo mail account, they decided to hire Baratov who broke into over 80 email accounts according to the prosecutors. The agents were after information of high valued individuals including some Russian officials, the chief executive of a metals company and a prominent banker. The lawsuit stated that over 50 accounts that were targeted by Baratov were Gmail accounts hosted by Google, according to the lawsuit.
As part of the agreement, the DOJ stated that Baratov admitted to hacking over 11,000 emails for different clients within the span of 7 years before he was arrested by the Canadian authorities. The case might take long though as Baratov is the only suspect arrested till date.