Yahoo breach exposes the drawbacks of state-sponsored hacking


When governments turn to private hackers to carry out state-sponsored attacks, as the FBI alleges Russia did in the 2014 breach of Yahoo, they’re taking a big risk.

On the one hand, it gives them a bit of plausible deniability while reaping the potential spoils of each attack, but if the hackers aren’t kept on a tight leash things can turn bad.

Karim Baratov, the 22-year-old Canadian hacker who the FBI alleges Russia’s state security agency hired to carry out the Yahoo breach, didn’t care much for a low profile.

His Facebook and Instagram posts boasted of the million-dollar house he bought in a Toronto suburb and there were numerous pictures of him with expensive sports cars — the latest an Aston Martin DB9 with the license plate “MR KARIM.”

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