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UK Man Involved in 2012 Yahoo Hack Sentenced to Prison

The U.K. National Crime Agency (NCA) announced last week that one of the members of an international cybercrime group has been given a two-year jail sentence.

The individual, 23-year-old Nazariy Markuta from London, is believed to be a member of a hacker collective known as “D33Ds Company.” In 2012, the group leaked more than 450,000 email addresses and passwords from Yahoo’s Contributor Network.

The NCA has not named the affected company in its press release and instead referred to it as a “major Silicon Valley firm.”

An investigation conducted by the British law enforcement agency in collaboration with the FBI led to the identification of Markuta, who is believed to be a key member of D33Ds Company.

The man was arrested at his home in North-West London in March 2015. At the time of his arrest, agents discovered thousands of payment card records in his possession. Investigators determined that, between 2012 and 2014, he leveraged SQL injection vulnerabilities to also breach the systems of a video game reseller and an SMS messaging service.

Markuta had pleaded guilty to eight counts related to hacking and fraud – crimes covered by the Serious Crime Act 2007, the Computer Misuse Act 1990 and the Fraud Act 2006. He has been sentenced to a total of more than 11 years, but he will only spend up to two years in prison since it’s a concurrent sentence.

The fact that one of the individuals who hacked its systems back in 2012 has been sentenced to prison is likely of little comfort to Yahoo these days. Two other data breaches suffered by the company have come to light over the past weeks, shortly after Verizon agreed to buy its core business for $4.8 billion.

In early August, a hacker offered to sell the credentials of 200 million users allegedly stolen from Yahoo back in 2012. Then, last week, Yahoo admitted suffering a massive data breach in 2014, when attackers believed to be sponsored by a nation state accessed information associated with at least 500 million user accounts.

It’s still unclear who is behind the 2014 attack, but experts have speculated that it could be Russia, China or even North Korea.

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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.