British ‘Dark Overlord’ hacker jailed for five years in US

A British man who helped steal information from several companies as a key member of The Dark Overlord hacking group has been jailed for five years in the US.

Nathan Francis Wyatt pleaded guilty in federal court in St Louis, Missouri, to conspiring to commit aggravated identity theft and computer fraud.

The 39-year-old, of Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, was also ordered to pay around $1.5m (£1.17m) in restitution.

In an unrelated case in 2016, Wyatt was arrested by UK police investigating the hacking of an iCloud account belonging to the Duchess of Cambridge’s sister, Pippa Matthews.

The father-of-three was released with no further action in relation to that case in September 2017.

Federal prosecutors said The Dark Overlord stole medical records, client files and personal information from the US companies, then demanded between $75,000 and $300,000 (£58,000-£234,000) worth of Bitcoin to return the information.

While none of the companies paid the ransom, the conspiracy cost them due to the intrusion and release of data, according to federal prosecutor Laura Kathleen Berstein.

She told the hearing that Wyatt set up a phone account and Twitter and PayPal accounts that were used to communicate and receive money.

Wyatt apologised during the hearing – which was held via Zoom – and said he was on medication for mental issues that led him to make bad decisions, the St Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

“I can promise you that I’m out of that world,” he said.

“I don’t want to see another computer for the rest of my life.”

His lawyer Brocca Morrison noted that Wyatt did not orchestrate the hacks and is the only hacker of the group that has been identified.

Ms Bernstein said Wyatt’s actions helped the other hackers to remain anonymous and that his phone account was used to send threatening text messages to relatives of victims.

Wyatt lost his appeal at the High Court to avoid extradition to the US for trial last year.

He had been serving time in prison since 2017 for separate blackmail and fraud convictions.

Sky News

© Sky News 2020

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