DoJ fines former intel operatives who provided hacker-for-hire services to UAE

A deal will see the charges suspended and the three defendants pay more than $1.6 million in penalties

The Department of Justice (DoJ) has announced federal computer fraud charges against three men who allegedly helped build a hacking program for the United Arab Emirates government.

The defendants - US citizens Marc Baier, 49, and Ryan Adams, 34, and a former US citizen Daniel Gericke, 40 - are all former employees of the US Intelligence Community (USIC) or military. They agreed to cooperate with prosecutors as part of a deal with the government that will see the charges suspended and the three men pay more than $1.6 million in penalties.

According to court documents, the defendants worked as senior managers at a UAE-based firm that carried out hacking campaigns on behalf of the UAE government between 2016 and 2019. They provided “zero-click” hacking that “could compromise a device without any action by the target”.

The deal is known as a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) and restricts them in future activities and employment and requires the payment of $1,685,000 in penalties. Baier will pay the largest share of the fine, $750,000, according to the DoJ, while Adams and Gericke will pay $600,000 and $335,000, respectively.

“This agreement is the first-of-its-kind resolution of an investigation into two distinct types of criminal activity: providing unlicensed export-controlled defense services in support of computer network exploitation, and a commercial company creating, supporting, and operating systems specifically designed to allow others to access data without authorization from computers worldwide, including in the United States,” said acting assistant attorney general Mark Lesko for the Justice Department’s National Security Division in a statement

Related Resource

The ultimate law enforcement agency guide to going mobile

Best practices for implementing a mobile device program

Policeperson tapping ID to phone with car in the background - whitepaper from SamsungFree download

Hackers-for-hire and those who otherwise support such activities in violation of US law should fully expect to be prosecuted for their criminal conduct.”

The DoJ said that the services provided by the men constituted a “defense service” requiring a license from the State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC). The defendants proceeded to provide such services without a license.

The FBI said this would be a warning to any American looking to provide hacking services to foreign governments.

“The FBI will fully investigate individuals and companies that profit from illegal criminal cyber activity,” said assistant director Bryan Vorndran of the FBI’s Cyber Division.

“This is a clear message to anybody, including former US government employees, who had considered using cyberspace to leverage export-controlled information for the benefit of a foreign government or a foreign commercial company – there is risk, and there will be consequences.”

Featured Resources

How virtual desktop infrastructure enables digital transformation

Challenges and benefits of VDI

Free download

The Okta digital trust index

Exploring the human edge of trust

Free download

Optimising workload placement in your hybrid cloud

Deliver increased IT agility with the cloud

Free Download

Modernise endpoint protection and leave your legacy challenges behind

The risk of keeping your legacy endpoint security tools

Download now

Recommended

Biden nominates Meg Whitman for ambassador role in Kenya
Policy & legislation

Biden nominates Meg Whitman for ambassador role in Kenya

10 Dec 2021
UK and US agree deeper data-sharing partnership
Policy & legislation

UK and US agree deeper data-sharing partnership

9 Dec 2021
ID.me and Sterling Check partner on in-person identity verification
identity and access management (IAM)

ID.me and Sterling Check partner on in-person identity verification

19 Nov 2021
Podcast transcript: Can the US take on big tech?
Policy & legislation

Podcast transcript: Can the US take on big tech?

19 Nov 2021

Most Popular

How to move Microsoft's Windows 11 from a hard drive to an SSD
Microsoft Windows

How to move Microsoft's Windows 11 from a hard drive to an SSD

4 Jan 2022
How to boot Windows 11 in Safe Mode
Microsoft Windows

How to boot Windows 11 in Safe Mode

6 Jan 2022
Microsoft Exchange servers break thanks to 'Y2K22' bug
email delivery

Microsoft Exchange servers break thanks to 'Y2K22' bug

4 Jan 2022