It is a rare moment when hackers are arrested; nevertheless, the Nintendo hacker was caught and arrested by Spanish Police in Malaga on Valentine’s Day. Authorities have not revealed his name, but they said he had been hacking the Spanish Nintendo Ibérica database since Feb. 6 to steal user information with the purpose of blackmailing Nintendo Spain.
He released information on one user and when Nintendo did not respond, he threatened to release the remaining stolen information from about 4,000 other Nintendo users on the Internet and planned to make a complaint with Spain’s Data Protection Agency, claiming that Nintendo Ibérica uses negligent methods to protect user data.
The arrest continues a trend of tracking down and arresting other hackers.
“Anonymous” Hackers and WikiLeaks Supporters Arrested: December 2010
One of the most famous recent cases of hackers being arrested was in December 2010 when five people from the group “Anonymous” were detained by British police. The group was behind some of the online hack attacks against websites maintained by companies that had stopped servicing WikiLeaks.
Called Operation Payback, the hack attack not only hacked media websites, stole the site code and made it available on a torrent network for others to download and use, but they also shut down the MasterCard, Visa, PayPal, MoneyBookers and Amazon.com, among other high-profile websites with Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attacks. To date, this is still an ongoing investigation.
Facebook Hacker and Blackmailer Arrested October 2011
California police arrested George Samuel Bronk in January and he is being held on seven felony charges, which include computer intrusion, impersonation, possession of child pornography, to which he pleaded guilty. Bronk used information made available by the victims on their Facebook pages to gain access to those victims’ e-mail accounts. Bronk then scoured their e-mail folders and if he found any nude photographs of them, used those photos to blackmail the women.
While only 42 victims have been identified to date, police suspect Bronk stole personal and private information from up to 3,200 women; authorities sent inquires to the possible victims and are awaiting responses. While this is not exactly a hack attack, it might as well have been because he gained access to the Facebook accounts under false pretenses. Bronk could see six years in prison and his court date is scheduled for March.
IPad and AT&T Hackers Arrested January 2011
On Jan. 4, the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested two men — Andrew Auernheimer from Fayetteville, Ark., and Daniel Spitler from San Francisco. The two are being charged with possession of personal subscriber information and for conspiring to gain access to AT&T servers by hacking them, according to the Newark, N.J., U.S. Attorney’s office.
The iPad subscriber information they stole included ICC-IDs and e-mail addresses of more than 120,000 device owners. The incident took place in June 2010 when the two wrote and deployed “iPad 3G Account Slurper,” which allowed them access to a security exploit. The two could face up to five years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines for each count if found guilty.
Obama/Twitter Hacker Arrested: March 2010
Near Clermont Ferrand in central France, French police, arrested “Hacker Croll,” in March 2010 for hacking President Barack Obama’s official Twitter account, among other celebrity accounts in July 2009. “Hacker Croll” is the online identity of the suspect’s own Twitter account. The FBI alerted French officials after they suspected the account had been broken into and as a joint force, weeded out the one responsible.
Authorities say “Hacker Croll” obtained the information necessary to gain administrator privileges on the Twitter website by trolling for it getting lucky, finding personal information of the real administrators. Because Twitter saw “Hacker Croll” as an administrator, the site did not suspect he was doing anything wrong. If convicted, the suspect could face up to two years in a French prison.