A Ukrainian hacker got caught selling confidential information gathered from Ukrainian central government databases.
According to a media release from the Ukrainian Cyberpolice, a hacker whose identity was not disclosed was able to break into many government databases by compromising personal accounts of authorized staff.
The hacker reportedly used brute force approaches to break into email addresses and social media accounts. Through this simple method, he appears to have found 50 government databases with up-to-date information.
He then sought to sell the captured information on hacker forums in exchange for cryptocurrency. Authorities did not disclose which currency was used.
The police searched the perpetrator’s apartment and confiscated the equipment that was used to conduct these deals. A picture from what appears to be his computer shows a Skype conversation supposedly in connection with these deals. The hacker told a potential customer that the price was “6.5 [rubles] for one valid [entry].” Presumably the customer was located in Russia, as Ukraine’s currency is the hryvnia. The price quote amounts to about $0.10 per database entry.
The perpetrator was charged with “unauthorized sale and distribution of information with limited access,” a crime with a maximum prison sentence of five years. Given the lack of high treason charges, it seems likely that the data was not extraordinarily sensitive.
Other hacking stories
Hackers will often use cryptocurrency to sell sensitive data. As Cointelegraph reported earlier in July, a hacker group netted over $7 million by selling stolen credit card data.
One common hacking method involving cryptocurrencies is ransomware, where malware encrypts the computer’s data and requests payment in crypto to unlock it. Despite many reported attacks, a recent finding shows that the frequency of these exploits declined in 2020.
A high profile data leak interested the crypto world in May, when a SIM swapping attack resulted in the compromise of BlockFi’s customer database.