A Russian man has been charged with hacking and stealing information from computers at LinkedIn and other San Francisco Bay Area companies.
The US attorney’s office in San Francisco announced Friday that a grand jury indicted 29-year-old Yevgeniy Aleksandrovich Nikulin, of Moscow, Russia, a day earlier on charges including computer intrusion and aggravated identity theft.
Prosecutors say Nikulin used a LinkedIn employee’s credentials to access the company’s computers in 2012. Nikulin is also accused of hacking two other companies, Dropbox and Formspring, and conspiring to sell stolen user names, passwords and email addresses of Formspring customers.
He was arrested on 5 October by officials in the Czech Republic and remains there, according to prosecutors. Russian officials have said they are working to prevent his extradition to the United States.
LinkedIn has suggested that Nikulin’s arrest was tied to a 2012 breach of member information. In May, LinkedIn said the 2012 breach resulted in more than 100 million of its users’ passwords being compromised, vastly more than had been previously thought.
Abraham Simmons, a spokesman for the US attorney’s office, declined to comment on whether the charges against Nikulin related to that breach.
Simmons said he did not know the name of Nikulin’s attorney.
LinkedIn said in a statement that it appreciated the FBI’s ongoing work to “pursue those responsible for the 2012 breach of LinkedIn member information”.
The indictment alleges three unnamed co-conspirators, one of whom offered to sell the stolen Formspring user information to another for 5,500 euros, or about $6,000 in current US currency.
The US has accused Russia of coordinating the theft and disclosure of emails from the Democratic National Committee and other institutions and individuals in the US to influence the outcome of the election. Russia has denied that.
There was no indication the LinkedIn case was connected to that accusation.