Here Are The Top 5 Hackers Arrested in 2016
“Hacker” was a term used to denote a skilled programmer who had competency in machine code and operating systems. Such individuals were proficient in solving unsatisfactory problems and often interpreted competitors’ code to work as intelligence agents for small software companies. However, over a period of time, hacking has a more negative implication, as black hat hackers have caused irreparable damage by breaking into secure networks to destroy, modify, or steal data; or to make the network unusable for those who are authorized to use the network. They also sell information about the security holes, zero-day vulnerabilities, and exploits to other criminals for them to use.
As a result, in order to try and bring cyber crime to a halt, several arrests are carried out by policemen and security agencies every single year. In this regard, the year 2016 was no different, as several prominent hackers have been arrested.
1. Ardit Ferizi – ISIS-Linked Hacker
Ardit Ferizi, a Kosovo citizen, believed to be in his 20s, was arrested and sentenced to 20 years in prison in September 2016 for providing material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a designated foreign terrorist organization, and accessing a protected computer without authorization and obtaining information in order to provide material support to ISIL. Leaked data included names, e-mail addresses, passwords, locations and phone numbers of 1,351 U.S. military and other government personnel. The ISIS-linked hacker obtained the data by hacking into the U.S. web hosting company’s servers on June 13, 2015.
2. Harold T. Martin
Harold Thomas Martin III is a former government contractor for Booz Allen Hamilton who has been accused of stealing approximately 50 terabytes of data from the National Security Agency (NSA). The stolen data were at least 500 million pages of government records which includes top-secret information about national defense. Martin tried to sell confidential information to a company being investigated by the FBI. For this information, he also looked to receive US$310,000 worth of bitcoin, which ultimately led to his arrest on October 5, 2016. Currently, he is on bail, and his case is scheduled to be presented to a Judge later in 2017.
3. Mike – The Nigerian Scammer
Mike, a 40-year-old Nigerian scammer, behind the “Nigerian Prince email scam” that solicited the reader to transfer thousands of dollars with the promise that they will reward them with a larger sum in the end. He had a network that comprised of over 40 individuals spread across Nigeria, Malaysia, and South Africa and cheated victims globally worth more than $60 million. He was also involved in providing malware, conducting online fraud and had connections to money launderers in China, Europe, and the U.S.
Thanks to a joint operation between Interpol and the Nigerian EFCC, Mike was arrested in 2016 in Port Harcourt, southern Nigeria. He currently faces charges of hacking, conspiracy and obtaining money under false pretenses. At the same time, another 38-year-old male was arrested on similar charges, as it would appear that Mike did not operate alone.
4. Paul Biteng, Joenel de Asis – Philippines COMELEC Hackers
On March 27, 2016, hackers under the banner, Anonymous Philippines hacked into the website of the Philippine Commission on Elections (COMELEC) and defaced it. During this breach, voter records of as many as 55 million Filipinos were exposed and leaked.
On April 20, 2016, a 20-year-old IT graduate identified as Paul Biteng was apprehended by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) who admitted that he defaced the COMELEC website but denied the contribution in data leak. He also admitted that the hacking was intended to show how vulnerability of the COMELEC website is. Further, on April 29, 2016, a 23-year-old Computer Science graduate identified as Joenel de Asis was arrested for his involvement in the hack and leaking details of the COMELEC website. Both men are awaiting trial and punishment for their crimes. However, the third hacker, which is yet to be identified, is still at large.
5. Unnamed teen Instagram hackers
Instagram, which is an online mobile photo-sharing site that allows its users to share pictures and videos either publicly or privately on the app, as well as through a variety of other social networking platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Flickr, was a high-value target for hackers and other online criminals throughout 2016. Two teen hackers, whose name was not divulged by the law enforcement agencies, used social engineering to fool a large number of Instagram users in America and hack their accounts.
Police arrested these cyber criminals, who turned out to be two teenagers aged 18 and 19, on March 16, 2016. Both the teens are awaiting trial in the United States.