Multiple Hacker Arrests in Collaborative International Operation

The FBI coordinated the worldwide investigation with assistance from the United States Air Force/Office of Special Investigations and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. It worked with the Romanian Directorate for Investigating Organized Crime and Terrorism (DIIOCT) and Directorate for Combating Organized Crime (DCCO); the Indian Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI); and the Chinese Ministry of Public Security (MPS).

Four people associated with  the websites zhackgroup.com, spyhackgroup.com, rajahackers.com, clickhack.com, ghostgroup.org, and e-mail-hackers.com were arrested in Romania. The FBI says that between February 2011 and February 2013, these people were involved in hacking 1600 e-mail accounts. The coincidence of the arrest of Guccifer last week has led to some speculation that he may be involved.

One person, Amit Vikram Tiwari, was arrested in India for operating the websites www.hirehacker.net and www.anonymiti.com. "Operators of the two websites are responsible for obtaining unauthorized access to approximately 935 e-mail accounts (of which 171 belonged to victims in India) between February 2011 and February 2013," says the FBI. Tiwari, the son of an Indian Army colonel, had been arrested in 2003 for hacking a credit card processing company. There are suggestions that his recent activities have a connection with the Indian Premier League ("generally considered to be the highest-profile showcase in the world for Twenty20 (T20) cricket" – Wikipedia), and that he had been approached by people associated with the IPL.

Ying Liu was arrested in China for operating hiretohack.net. "Liu is responsible for obtaining unauthorized access to approximately 300 e-mail accounts between January 2012 and March 2013," says the FBI.

The two US website operators, Mark Anthony Townsend and Joshua Alan Tabor, operated the website needapassword.com. Customers would provide the names of e-mail accounts, and Townsend and Tabor would obtain and provide the passwords to those accounts. Nearly 6000 e-mail accounts were affected.

The three US customers of foreign e-mail hacking websites are John Ross Jesensky, Laith Nona, and Arthur Drake. Jesensky paid $21,675 to a Chinese website, Nona paid $1.081 (to an unspecified website), and Drake paid $1,011 (to an unspecified website). All three are charged with misdemeanor offenses for hiring computer hackers. 

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