A man who pleaded guilty for taking part in cyberattacks on Yahoo for Russian intelligence agents got five years in prison in a plea bargain deal with prosecutors.
The plea deal for Karim Baratov, 23, who immigrated to Canada from Kazakhstan, also resulted in a $250,000 fine, said officials at the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ).
Baratov has been in U.S. custody since being extradited from Canada last year on a U.S. warrant for hacking, commercial espionage and related crimes. He pleaded guilty last November and had been awaiting sentencing.
Law enforcement officials said Russian intelligence agents hired Baratov and another hacker to carry out attacks on Yahoo from 2014 to 2016.
Baratov worked under the guidance of two agents from the FSB, Russia’s spy agency, to compromise the accounts, officials said.
Those officers, Dmitry Dokuchaev and Igor Sushchin, reside in Russia, as does Latvian hacker Alexsey Belan who also was implicated in the Yahoo hack. Given their location, those three are unlikely to face consequences for their involvement, but Baratov’s Canadian citizenship made him vulnerable to prosecution.
The breach compromised 500 million Yahoo accounts and is one of the largest cyberattacks in history.
“The sentence imposed reflects the seriousness of hacking for hire,” said prosecutor Alex Tse.
“Hackers such as Baratov ply their trade without regard for the criminal objectives of the people who hire and pay them.”
Targets included Russian and U.S. government officials, cyber security, diplomatic and military personnel, journalists, companies and financial firms.
“It’s difficult to overstate the unprecedented nature of this conspiracy, in which members of a foreign intelligence service directed and empowered criminal hackers to conduct a massive cyber-attack against 500 million victim user accounts,” said John Bennett, FBI special agent in charge for the San Francisco field office.