World Bulletin / News Desk
Karim Baratov, born in Kazakhstan but a Canadian citizen living in Hamilton, Ontario west of Toronto, pleaded guilty in November to nine felony hacking charges.
The 23-year-old said in a plea arrangement that he started his hacking activities as a teen, charging $100 for each hack of web-based emails.
American authorities termed Baratov “an international hacker for hire” and said he purloined information unaware that the buyers were Russian spies.
The authorities said Baratov was hired by Russia’s Federal Security Service and was paid to hack dozens of email accounts, mostly those of Russian journalists, Russian and American officials and also financial services employees.
The U.S. Justice Department also charged two Russian spies – Dmitry Dokuchaev and Igor Sushchin – with engineering the 2014 Yahoo espionage but they remain at large.
Baratov collected more than $1.1 million as payment for his illegal activities.
Authorities said he hacked into 11,000 email accounts and sold information on their private lives between 2010 and 2017.
“Deterrence is particularly important in a case like this,” Judge Vince Chhabria said Tuesday at Baratov’s sentencing hearing.
Since his arrest in March 2017, Baratov has been behind bars, and he called the incarceration “a very humbling and eye-opening experience”.