The United States Section of Justice has extradited two criminals from the Republic of Cyprus—one is a pc hacker suspected of cyber intrusions and extortion, and the other is a cash launderer with known connections to the terrorist corporation Hezbollah.
The two suspects—Joshua Polloso Epifaniou, 21, a resident of Nicosia, and Ghassan Diab, 37, a citizen of Lebanon—were arrested earlier final year and extradited to the United States final weekend.
According to the indictment, Epifaniou conducted a brute power assault towards the Phoenix-based on-line critique portal Ripoff Report (ROR) in Oct 2016 and successfully override ROR’s login and password security to attain obtain to its database via an existing account associated with a ROR worker.
In November 2016, Epifaniou tried to extort the organization by emailing ROR’s CEO with a hyperlink to a online video demonstrating Epifaniou’s unauthorized access to the ROR CEO’s account, threatening him to publicly disseminate stolen ROR facts unless he paid $90,000 within just 48 several hours.
Involving Oct 2016 and Could 2017, Epifaniou also labored with an affiliate at Glendale-based “Search engine optimisation Enterprise” to illegally eliminate problems posted on ROR’s site for whoever interested in paying the enterprise around $3,000 to $5,000 per complaint removal.
According to the court docket files, Epifaniou and his co-conspirator taken out at the very least 100 issues from the compromised ROR database for their “purchasers,” which could have profited the Search engine optimization Organization somewhere concerning $300,000 and $500,000.
Other than ROR, Epifaniou has also been accused of hacking and extorting internet websites between Oct 2014 and November 2016, which bundled:
- a free on-line video game publisher based in Irvine, California
- a components firm primarily based in New York
- an on line employment site headquartered in Innsbrook, Virginia and
- an on the web sporting activities information site owned by Turner Broadcasting System Inc. in Atlanta, Georgia.
To hack into these websites, Epifaniou either instantly exploited a security flaw in it and stole its user and shopper info, or attained a part of the sufferer website’s person facts from a co-conspirator who experienced hacked into the victim network.
Epifaniou allegedly defrauded the victim sites of $56,850 in bitcoin, and two victims incurred losses of a lot more than $530,000 from remediation expenses related with the incident.
Epifaniou is wished in both the Northern District of Georgia and the District of Arizona. He is billed in the District of Arizona in a 24-rely indictment with conspiracy to commit pc hacking, acquire info from a guarded laptop, deliberately injury a safeguarded personal computer, and threaten to injury a secured personal computer.
In the Northern District of Georgia, Epifaniou is billed in a five-count indictment with conspiracy to dedicate wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to dedicate computer fraud and identification theft, and extortion linked to a protected computer system.
Epifaniou is scheduled for his arraignment before the U.S. Magistrate Judge Alan J. Baverman in the Northern District of Ga, on Monday, July 20.
Yet another Cypriot, named Ghassan Diab, 37, extradited on Friday and needed in Florida, has been determined by the U.S. Justice Division as a member of Hezbollah, a militant group based in Lebanon.
Diab is conspired to interact in the laundering of drug proceeds, dollars laundering of extra than $100,000, conspired to launder a further $100,000, as well as accused of the unlicensed transmission of currency of above $100,000, and illegal use of a two-way communications gadget to further more the commission of revenue laundering.
Diab is charged with a total of 8 federal counts, all felonies below Florida law.
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