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Yahoo Mega-Breach Hacker, Karim Baratov, To Serve An Eight-Year Sentence

Written by Nitish Singh
Last updated September 17, 2021

The Yahoo Mega-Breach Hacker is finally being sentenced for violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). Karim Baratov was responsible for breaching Yahoo with the help of two officers of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) to pull off the historic Yahoo Breach. He is set to serve almost eight years in prison once a San Francisco federal judge passes verdict.

The Yahoo Mega-Breach was first confirmed by Yahoo officials after discovering that a raid affected half a billion accounts in 2014. Within months, Yahoo confirmed yet another breach that dated back to 2013 involving 3 billion accounts.

Karim Baratov

Image Courtesy of CNN

Baratov pleaded guilty in November 2017 to nine counts related to the 2014 breach. He violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) by stealing information from protected computers and also was found guilty of aggravated identity theft. Under the federal guidelines, he can face up to 20 years of the prison according to the Department of Justice. His lawyers asked for a sentence of 45 months which is about half of what Baratov is about to serve.

According to the sentencing memorandum, Baratov was a hacker open to being hired by customers who did not explain their own identity, motives or objectives. His operations reached the international stage between 2014 and 2016 when he started working with FSB officers and breached Yahoo. He was paid to breach 80 webmail accounts belonging to the Russian Intelligence’s list of people of interest.

According to Naked Security, Karim Baratov advertised himself on various websites as a hacker who would get into email accounts without prepayment. He worked on Yahoo, Google, Mail.ru, and Yandex email accounts for a fee. He earned enough from illegal activities to live a luxurious life including sports cars and a fancy home. The defendant grew his business and gave his customers the ability to commit a wide variety of crimes including exploiting the victims’ dignity, finances, safety, privacy and other interests.



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