Top 5 Hacker Arrests of 2016

Hackers don’t have the best of reputations among consumers and law enforcement agencies. Several arrests are carried out every single year, as policemen and security agencies try to bring cyber crime to a halt. The year 2016 was no different in this regard, as several prominent hackers have been arrested. Some of these arrests involved prominent hackers, resulting in these stories getting quite a bit of mainstream attention.

5. Instagram Hackers Arrested

Social media platforms have become a high-value target for hackers and other online criminals. Several hundreds of influential Instagram users were hacked throughout 2016. As a result of these hackers, their follower base was taken advantage by these criminals, who turned out to be two teenagers. Two 18- and 19-year old males were arrested on March 16, 2016. These arrests go to show it is difficult to trust people active on social media, as you never know if their accounts may be compromised.

4. Commission on Elections Hack

The Philippines is a region that holds a lot of value to hackers as well, albeit that may come as quite a surprise to a lot of people. On April 29 of 2016, a 23-year-old male was arrested for his involvement in the hack of the Commission on Elections website. During this breach, voter records of as many as 55 million Filipinos were exposed and leaked. Further investigation revealed there was a second person involved in this hack. Another 23-year-old male was arrested near the end of 2016. Both men are awaiting trial and punishment for their crimes.

3. Mike The Nigerian Scammer

People who have been using the Internet for quite some time may have come across the “Nigerian Prince email scam”. People receive an email out of the blue, claiming to be sent by a Nigerian prince who needs their help to move the funds out of the country. In exchange for doing so, the helpers will receive a small portion of the amount waiting to be transferred.

Mike, a 40-year-old Nigerian scammer, was arrested in 2016 thanks to a joint operation between Interpol and the Nigerian EFCC. Mike scammed victims out of over US$60m and is currently facing charges of obtaining money under false pretenses and hacking. It would appear mike did not operate alone, as another 38-year-old male was arrested on similar charges around the same time. Rest assured both men will spend quite a few years in prison.

2. Harold T. Martin

It is not often an NSA contractor is arrested for his involvement in a hacking scheme. In the case of Harold T. Martin, he attempted to sell confidential information to a company being investigated by the FBI. He also aimed to receive US$310,000 worth of bitcoin for this information, which ultimately led to his arrested on October 5, 2016. While he is out on bail for now, his case will be presented to a Judge later in 2017. Rest assured Martin will not work as a contractor in the cyber security sector in the future.  

1. ISIL-Linked Hacker

It is not surprising to learn there are some hackers who are seemingly sympathetic to ISIL and other terrorist organizations. One hacker linked ISIL was arrested on January 28 of 2016 and extradited to the United States, where he will face several charges. Considering how the hacker is only 20 years old, it would not be surprising to see the US legal system try to make an example of Ardit Ferizi. No one knows for sure what type of jail sentence he may be looking at, though.

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