Israeli Hacker Arrested for Alleged Bitcoin Extortion

An Israeli citizen living in Mexico was arrested upon his arrival to Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv yesterday for

An Israeli citizen living in Mexico was arrested upon his arrival to Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv yesterday for cybercrime and bitcoin extortion.  According to Israeli media reports, Israel’s 433 Cybercrime unit had been following the suspect in the darknet for suspicion of his involvement in infecting firms with virus and extorting victims to be paid in bitcoins to have the virus removed from their databases and company computers.

Reported about several times this year, hackers have turned to bitcoins as a currency of ransom after infecting firms with virus, or in one case allegedly looking to plant the real Ebola virus.  One of the methods being used is a popup message that occurs upon victim computers trying to access documents and records from their database.  The message notifies them that they have been hacked and that to remove the virus they are required to send a sum of bitcoins to a specific bitcoin address.

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Earlier in the year, Israeli police first made the public aware of such cases taking place in the country as a group of firms were hit with the virus and forced to pay between $500 to $1000 in bitcoins to remove the block.  According to charges, the current suspect has allegedly applied ransoms for millions of dollars from hacked victims. There was no mention in the charges if he was connected with the previous cases of bitcoin extortion that took place in Israel.

Denying the current charges, the arrest wasn’t the first for the suspect.  In May 2011, the suspect was convicted and sentenced to jail for 8 months for holding and transferring  digital pornographic images of minors.

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