A 21-year old arrested in Indonesia is suspected to have sent phishing emails that spread ransomware. He is believed to be a lone wolf that started as a teenager and reportedly made at least 300 bitcoins from cybercriminal activities.
The arrest was made on October 18, but details were released only late last week. If found guilty, the man faces at least six years in prison under the Electronic Information and Transactions Law.
Hacking a U.S. based company
Identified only by his initials (B.B.A.), the suspect was arrested in the Sleman region of Yogyakarta after the police were tipped off that he hacked into the computer network of a company in the U.S.
Without naming the victim business, a Yogyakarta police spokesman said that the alleged cybercriminal compromised the systems of an entity in San Antonio, Texas.
Once in, he locked access to the email server and threatened to delete all the data unless he received a ransom payment in three days; the amount remains undisclosed.
The money shot
According to the police, B.B.A. sent at least 500 malicious messages to employees at various businesses predominantly in the U.S. The email included a link to a ransomware payload that encrypted the files on victims’ computers.
The police allege that B.B.A. acted alone since 2014; if true, the cybercriminal would have been 16 at the time of the earliest cyber incident law enforcement was able to connect to him.
This is not the only impressive bit of this story, though. It appears that the suspect made a fortune from his crimes as the 300 bitcoins believed to have resulted from the attacks is the equivalent of over $2.7 million at today’s exchange rate.
A bitcoin wallet address shared by the police shows a different balance, though, with incoming Bitcoin transactions adding about $518,000, and 320 Bitcoin Cash transactions worth around $17,000 at the current exchange rate.
However, this may be only one wallet used by the perpetrator for getting paid. But even if this is all the money B.B.A. made from cybercriminal activity, it still adds to a significant sum.