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Russian Arrested by Czech Police Tied to 2012 LinkedIn Hack

The Russian national arrested this month by Czech police in cooperation with the FBI is believed to have been involved in the hacking of social media company LinkedIn in 2012.

Czech police announced on Wednesday that they had arrested a Russian citizen suspected of launching cyberattacks on the United States. Since the announcement came shortly after the U.S. formally accused the Russian government of hacking political organizations, some believed the arrest might be connected to the attacks attributed by experts to sophisticated Russia-linked cyber espionage groups.

However, LinkedIn said the man arrested by Czech authorities is actually tied to the 2012 breach that affected well over 100 million of its users. A U.S. official confirmed for Reuters that the suspect is not believed to be linked to the recent politics-related cyberattacks.

”Following the 2012 breach of LinkedIn member information, we have remained actively involved with the FBI’s case to pursue those responsible,” LinkedIn stated. “We are thankful for the hard work and dedication of the FBI in its efforts to locate and capture the parties believed to be responsible for this criminal activity.”

Czech authorities now have to decide if they will extradite the suspect to the United States. However, Russian news agency TASS reported that authorities in Moscow insist that the man be handed over to Russia.

The BBC said the man was identified as 29-year-old Yevgeniy N. He was reportedly arrested by Czech police on October 5.

Until recently, the world believed the 2012 LinkedIn breach affected only 6.5 million accounts. However, in May, hackers offered to sell 167 million LinkedIn accounts, including 117 million that included passwords, for 5 bitcoins ($2,200).

Two individuals, known online as “Peace” and “Tessa88,” had offered to sell the LinkedIn data. However, an investigation conducted by security firm InfoArmor revealed that LinkedIn and other popular services that suffered serious data breaches in around the same period may have been targeted by professional black hat hackers from Eastern Europe.

The same hackers are also believed to be connected to the massive 2014 breach suffered by Yahoo. The tech giant blamed the attack on a state-sponsored actor, but InfoArmor said a state-sponsored party may have actually acquired the Yahoo data from the black hat hackers.

Related: 50 Hackers Using Lurk Banking Trojan Arrested in Russia

Related: US Jury Convicts Russian MP's Son for Hacking Scheme

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.