At the beginning of September, the lawsuit against 22-year-old Canadian man Karim Baratov, arrested in Hamilton in March this year begins. He is accused of having made a comprehensive hack of Yahoo accounts. September last year, Yahoo announced that at least 500 user accounts had been stolen in a cyber attack in 2014. Baratov is accused of having hacked 80 Yahoo accounts and faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted. None of the charges have yet been proven in court.
Computer hacking and espionage
The US authorities call Baratov a “hacker-for-hire”. He is accused of being hired by the Russian intelligence service, FSB, which is the successor to the Soviet KGB. He arrived in Canada in 2007 and in 2011 he obtained American citizenship. One of the other suspects in the case, Alexsey Belan, is on the FBI’s most wanted list of cybercriminals. Since Russia does not have an extradition treaty with the United States, it is uncertain whether he or two additional suspects Dmitry Dokuchaev and Igor Sushchin will ever stand trial in the United States. There are indications that Dokuchaev and Sushchin are employed by the FSB and that they and Belan have instructed Baratov to hack the many Yahoo accounts for the purpose of computer hacking and economic espionage.
Parents offer 100 million bail
Baratov has been denied bail and held in custody. It is estimated that he wants to flee from the country and that it is therefore too risky. His parents had offered just under 1 million. US dollars in cash as bail. The offer was rejected as the judge did not deem they were suitable to keep an eye on their son, when they had not wondered about his growing wealth or his business activities when he lived with them. It is estimated that the risk of up to 20 years in prison will make the young man try to escape from the country. Baratov’s lawyers argue that the judge committed several errors when he refused bail, partly because there has not yet been any clear evidence presented of his connection to the Russian intelligence services, in connection with the Yahoo hack.
In March Baratov publishes a series of pictures on social media, where he leans against his Mercedes Benz, parked next to his Aston Martin. Over the past five years, the young man has applied for permission to use license plates on an Aston Martin, a Porsche, an Audi, a Lamborghini, a Mercedes Benz and 3 BMWs. He is also known as Karim Akehmet Tokbergenov and Karim Taloverov. In 2015, he and a married couple bought a home in Ancaster for $642.5 million. – $ 514 million is still unpaid on the mortgage loan.
Old classmates tell that Baratov already had an expensive lifestyle in high school where he bought expensive clothes and invited friends for exclusive dinners. He says that he made more money than his parents together when he was 14 years old. The old classmates also say he was an introverted guy with great interest in computer programming. Baratov says he is a professional programmer and also lives from buying and selling shares.
Updated drivers keep you safe from burglary
Whether Baratov is a Yahoo hacker with connections to the Russian intelligence service, master of the stock exchange or just a regular hustler, is hard to say. Because of the Russian relations and the questions about his wealth in combination with lack of evidence of his relationship with the FSB, it is likely to become a complicated trial. Many of us become victims of viruses and hacking when using our mail accounts. A frequent reason for an attack on our computer is that our drivers are outdated. When we do not update our drivers, we are at constant risk of hackers exploiting security holes in earlier versions of our software.
Protect your computer with new drivers already today
The right drivers ensure that your computer works optimally and protects you from attacks when you are online. You should also follow some simple tips. When you use your mail you must always be aware of emails from questionable senders and never follow direct links from, for example, banking services or tax authorities. Also, do not download files from unknown senders. You can read more about how to protect yourself from online identity theft here and how to protect your computer against hacker attacks here.
Whatever the outcome of the lawsuit against Baratov, it is likely that 500 Yahoo accounts were hacked in 2014 and hacking via our mail accounts is an increasing issue. You can protect yourself today by downloading the latest version of DriverUpdate.