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Russian Man Accused of Hacking LinkedIn, Dropbox

The Russian national arrested earlier this month by Czech police has been charged in the United States for hacking into the systems of LinkedIn, Dropbox and Formspring.

Yevgeniy Aleksandrovich Nikulin, 29, of Moscow, Russia, was arrested by Czech authorities on October 5, but news of the arrest only came to light last week.

The Russian national arrested earlier this month by Czech police has been charged in the United States for hacking into the systems of LinkedIn, Dropbox and Formspring.

Yevgeniy Aleksandrovich Nikulin, 29, of Moscow, Russia, was arrested by Czech authorities on October 5, but news of the arrest only came to light last week.

While initially some believed that the arrest was related to cyberattacks supposedly launched by the Russian government against political organizations in the United States, LinkedIn revealed that the law enforcement operation, carried out in cooperation with the FBI, was actually linked to the breach suffered by the social media company in 2012.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced on Friday that Nikulin had been charged by a federal grand jury in Oakland, California, with nine counts related to obtaining information from computers, causing damage to computers, trafficking in access devices, aggravated identity theft and conspiracy.

Authorities said Nikulin is believed to be behind not only the LinkedIn breach, but also the 2012 attacks on Dropbox and Formspring.

The Dropbox hack, carried out after an employee’s credentials were stolen, has affected more than 68 million accounts, but the full extent of the incident only came to light recently. As for the social Q&A site Formspring, hackers leaked 420,000 hashed passwords back in 2012, which triggered a password reset on all user accounts.

According to the DoJ, LinkedIn and Formspring were also breached after hackers obtained employee credentials. Authorities said Nikulin conspired with others to sell the information stolen from Formspring.

Nikulin is currently in custody in the Czech Republic and the United States hopes to convince Czech authorities to approve his extradition. On the other hand, Moscow insists that the man be handed over to Russia.

Related: Moscow Confirms Ministry Website Attack After U.S. Hacker Claim

Related: 50 Hackers Using Lurk Banking Trojan Arrested in Russia

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

Written By

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.

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