Thu, 06 Aug 2020

A jury in San Francisco has convicted Russian citizen Yevgeny Nikulin over a series of hacks and cyberthefts eight years ago that targeted major U.S. social-media companies such as LinkedIn and Dropbox.

The District Court for the Northern District of California said on July 10 that Nikulin's sentence would be pronounced on September 29.

His lawyer vowed to appeal the verdict, which he called a "huge injustice."

Arkady Bukh said a psychiatric examination ordered by the judge had found that his 32-year-old client had mental problems.

Nikulin faces up to 10 years in prison for each count of selling stolen usernames and passwords, installing malware on protected computers, as well as up to five years for each count of conspiracy and computer hacking.

According to U.S. prosecutors, Nikulin in 2012 stole the usernames and passwords used by tens of millions of social-media users to access their accounts. Some of that data was put up for sale on a notorious Russian hacker forum.

Nikulin was detained in the Czech Republic in October 2016, and his extradition to the United States 17 months later angered Russia.

His trial started in California in early March but was interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic a week later, when nearly all in-person court hearings were postponed across the United States.

Nikulin was targeted by U.S. law enforcement as part of a multiyear campaign to arrest some of the most notorious Russian hackers and suspected cybercriminals.

More than a dozen have been arrested in various countries, with Moscow accusing Washington of "hunting" Russian citizens.

Based on reporting by Bloomberg and TASS

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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