Three former US intelligence officers will pay $1.68 million to the UAE government for hacking.
Three former members of the United States military have agreed to pay $1.68 million in fines for cybersecurity offences committed while working for a cybersecurity firm based in the United Arab Emirates.
Marc Baier, 49, Ryan Adams, 34, and Daniel Gericke, 40, signed a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) on Tuesday that limits their future actions and employment. The DPA also requires them to pay a total of $1,685,000 in penalties over the next three years—$750,000, $600,000, and $335,000, respectively—without reimbursement until the US government approves.
As part of the DPA, each defendant agreed to cooperate with various Department and FBI components, relinquish all foreign or U.S. security clearances, and submit to a lifetime ban on future U.S. security clearances and employment restrictions, including employment involving computer network exploitation (CNE) and various UAE organizations.
The fines arise from a Department of Justice-led investigation into violations of US export control, computer fraud, and access device fraud legislation, all of which the three defendants plotted to break between 2016 and 2019.
All three persons were unlicensed while operating under the cover of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations while working as senior managers of a corporation that supported and handled CNE operations on behalf of the UAE government (ITAR). The individuals illegally obtained and used login credentials for internet accounts granted by US corporations using “zero-click” computer hacking and information gathering methods.
The accused also hacked into computers and cell phones all throughout the world, including in the United States.
The FBI’s Washington Field Office Assistant Director in Charge Steven M. D’Antuono said Monday’s announcement “sheds light on the illicit activities of three former members of the US Intelligence Community and military.”
“These individuals opted to ignore warnings and use their years of knowledge to support and strengthen the offensive cyber activities of a foreign government. The FBI will continue to investigate such violations, as seen by these charges and the penalties linked with them,” D’Antuono said.
In a press statement, Acting United States Attorney Channing D. Phillips of the District of Columbia said that when some processes are left unregulated, “the growth of offensive cyber capabilities harms privacy and security worldwide.”
“The status of a former U.S. citizen. This is a condensed version of the information.