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Alleged Russian hacker faces US judge after Czechs extradite him

Europe
30.03.2018
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Washington (dpa) - A Russian man charged with hacking into computers belonging to three US internet companies pleaded not guilty on Friday in his first appearance in US federal court.

Yevgeniy Nikulin, 30, appeared before a US magistrate in San Francisco after being extradited from the Czech Republic, the US Justice Department said in a news release.

Nikulin allegedly targeted the San Francisco Bay-area companies LinkedIn, Dropbox and Formspring in 2012 and 2013. He has been in custody in the Czech Republic since his arrest in October 2016 by Czech law enforcement officials.

The United States requested his extradition a month after he was arrested. The Czech justice minister granted the request on Thursday, two days after US House Speaker Paul Ryan visited Prague.

"This Russian hacker broke our laws," Ryan said Friday on Twitter. "His extradition was a key issue I raised in Prague, and I‘m pleased that the Czech government came to this decision."

The indictment filed against Nikulin alleges that he both hacked into and stole information from the companies‘ computers.

Nikulin allegedly used the credentials of LinkedIn and Formspring employees without their knowledge in connection with the intrusions, the news release said.

The indictment says Nikulin engaged in a conspiracy with other unnamed individuals to traffic stolen Formspring user credentials.

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the hackers could have potentially gained access to the personal information of millions of Americans.

"This is deeply troubling behaviour once again emanating from Russia," Sessions said, adding that the US will investigate and prosecute these crimes regardless of the country they originate.

 

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