A hacker who grew to become the first ever Cypriot national to be extradited to the United States has pleaded guilty to extorting main American web-site operators with stolen person info.
Joshua Polloso Epifaniou was a teen when he began hacking into sites, stealing data, and threatening to launch it if he did not acquire a ransom.
The 21-calendar year-outdated resident of Nicosia, Cyprus, was arrested by Cypriot authorities in February 2018. In July last 12 months, Epifaniou was extradited to the US to encounter costs in equally Ga and Arizona.
According to US authorities, amongst at the very least October 2014 and November 2016, Epifaniou searched site targeted traffic rankings to determine targets to extort. He then labored with co-conspirators to steal individually identifiable information and facts from user and buyer databases belonging to target websites.
Among the the sites hit by Epifaniou have been a free on the web video game publisher primarily based in California, a New York City components enterprise, an on line work internet site headquartered in Virginia, a buyer report website headquartered in Phoenix, and a sports news internet site based in Atlanta, Ga, and owned by Turner Broadcasting Method Inc.
To steal knowledge, Epifaniou possibly right exploited security vulnerabilities in the victim web sites or received a chunk of details from a co-conspirator who had hacked into the victim network.
Epifaniou then utilized proxy servers found in foreign nations to log into on the net email accounts and deliver messages to victims demanding a ransom payment in crypto-currency to protect against the stolen facts currently being leaked.
On January 25, the Northern District of Georgia announced that Epifaniou experienced pleaded responsible to accessing several major internet sites dependent in the United States without the need of authorization, thieving consumer information, and demanding that the web page operators spend a ransom to prevent his launch of the knowledge.
“This conviction signifies the willpower of FBI investigators to maintain cyber criminals accountable for extorting US corporations and citizens no matter exactly where they may well be hiding,” mentioned Chris Hacker, distinctive agent in charge of FBI Atlanta.
Prior to the plea, Epifaniou paid out virtually $600,000 in restitution to the victims. He also agreed to forfeit an extra $389,113 and nearly 70,000 euros to the governing administration in his plea arrangement.
Sentencing is scheduled for March 3, 2021.