Guru Brian Krebs’ attackers sentenced for data theft

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The heroin sent to Mr Krebs was bought on the Silk Road dark web marketplace

Two hackers who separately profited from stealing personal and financial data have been sentenced in the US.

Sergey Vovnenko was jailed for 41 months for hijacking computers and selling stolen credit card numbers.

Eric Taylor, who stole and then published sensitive information about celebrities and public figures, received three years’ probation.

Both were also involved in attacks on security researcher Brian Krebs, who exposed their online criminal activity.

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Mr Krebs said Vovnenko was one of the administrators of a discussion forum that traded in stolen payment cards and personal data, in a blogpost reporting the sentencing.

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Kristof Clerix

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Security researcher Brian Krebs has a popular blog that exposes cybercrimes

Mr Krebs won access to the forum only to discover Mr Vovnenko’s plan to send heroin to him and then, via an anonymous tip-off, get the police to raid his home. Prompt action by Mr Krebs foiled the attempt to frame him.

In 2014, Vovnenko was arrested in Italy then extradited to the US for trial for his part in running the card fraud forum and for compromising computers from which saleable data was stolen.

As well as serving a 41-month sentence, Vovnenko will also be supervised for three years following his release and must pay compensation of $83,368 (£67,000).

Taylor was arrested in 2012 as part of a massive series of raids on criminal hacker groups around the world, co-ordinated by the FBI.

Taylor was a member of a hacker group that published some of the stolen data exposing sensitive information about celebrities, prominent public figures and ordinary Americans.

He targeted Mr Krebs after the blogger exposed his part in hacking a Russian underground forum that harboured information stolen from a US consumer data firm.

In the hoax attack, Taylor used an instant message service to make it look like Mr Krebs was reporting that his home had been invaded by Russians who had shot his wife and were holding him hostage.

The report led to Mr Krebs being briefly handcuffed outside his home while officers swept his home seeking the Russian criminals.

Mr Krebs was released after police realised it was a hoax and because paperwork revealed that the blogger had reported the possibility that he would be subject to this type of attack some weeks earlier.

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