In-brief: The arrest of a 29-year-old man in Prague for suspected involvement in the 2012 hack of LinkedIn is a big victory for law enforcement. Even more important: viral video of the arrest. (Editor’s note: This post first appeared on Digital Guardian’s blog. )
The arrest of a 29-year-old man in Prague for suspected involvement in the 2012 hack of LinkedIn earlier this month was a big victory for law enforcement. The release this week of video footage of his arrest and subsequent “perp walk” may be even more important.
Czech authorities disclosed on Tuesday that they had taken an individual identified as “Yevgeniy N” into custody on October 5 at a restaurant in Prague. Reports on U.S. news outlets including CBS, citing unnamed sources, say the man was wanted for his involvement in the hack and theft of data from LinkedIn, the social networking web site, in 2012.
Judging from information released by Czech authorities, the arrest was a model of the kinds of cross border cooperation that authorities and information security professionals have long been calling for. Specifically: the U.S. used Interpol’s Red Notice system to issue the equivalent of an international arrest warrant for the individual, who resides in Russia.
Acting on intelligence that “Yevgeniy” was in the Czech Republic with his girlfriend, the FBI in the U.S. contacted Czech authorities who located and detained him at a central Prague hotel within 12 hours of being contacted by the FBI. Importantly: the arrest was captured on videotape. A clip shared by Czech authorities with news outlets shows Yeveniy with a companion at what appears to be an upscale restaurant speaking with Czech police. He is later shown being cuffed and led out of the restaurant to a waiting police cruiser. The Czech authorities said he was surprised by the arrest and offered no resistance, though he later collapsed and had to be hospitalized and given First Aid.
The arrest is a victory in a long war on cybercrime and cybercriminals who have, for too long, operated with impunity from within the border of Russia and former Soviet satellite states, as well as from developing nations like China and elsewhere.
But the video is just as important. It sends a powerful message to cybercriminals and would-be cybercriminals. Namely: that there will be consequences for your actions. You may benefit materially from your crime (Yevgeniy and his girlfriend were, reportedly, traveling in a luxury automobile and staying at a 5-star hotel). You will also be an international pariah: a wanted criminal whose movements outside of whatever safe haven you inhabit will be watched. Traveling abroad, you will carry the knowledge that you could be subject to sudden and humiliating arrest at any moment. You are a wanted (wo)man. And, let’s face it, no matter what car you drive, being led away in cuffs and sticking your girlfriend with the tab is definitely not cool.