Industry News

Member of ‘The Dark Overlord’ Hacking Grouop Pleads Guilty, Gets Five Years Behind Bars

The U.S. Department of Justice this week announced that a United Kingdom national by the name of Nathan Wyatt pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit aggravated identity theft and computer fraud, and was sentenced to five years in federal prison. The Feds also ordered Wyatt to pay almost $1.5 million in restitution.

39-year-old Nathan Wyatt admitted in a U.S. federal court of law to participating in a computer hacking collective known as “The Dark Overlord” after being extradited from the U.K. to the U.S.

“Wyatt admitted that, beginning in 2016, he was a member of The Dark Overlord, a hacking group that was responsible for remotely accessing the computer networks of multiple U.S. companies without authorization,” the DOJ press release states.

“Victims in the Eastern District of Missouri included healthcare providers, accounting firms, and others. Wyatt admitted that The Dark Overlord co-conspirators acted by obtaining sensitive data from victim companies, including patient medical records and personal identifying information, and then threatening to release the companies’ stolen data unless the companies paid a ransom of between $75,000 and $350,000 in bitcoin.”

The defendant admitted to participating in the conspiracy by “creating, validating, and maintaining communication, payment, and virtual private network accounts that were used in the course of the scheme to, among other things, send threatening and extortionate messages to victims within the Eastern District of Missouri,” the DOJ says.

As reported by databreaches.net, some of the evidence had been under seal until now. For example, Wyatt allegedly sent threatening messages to victims, including one ransom demand taking aim at a victim’s wife and daughter.

For example, the daughter of one of the victims allegedly received this chilling excerpt of a communication from the hacking group via a telephone account registered by Wyatt:

“hi [K] you look peaceful….by the way did your daddy tell you he refused to pay us when we stole his company files..in 4 days we will be releasing for sale thousands of patient info. including yours… 19 in febuary?…weve all had a look and we all think your hot. soon some really evil men will be looking at you..possibly thru your window. your father is also looking at multiple felonies..so say good bye to the house.. all bcs daddy wouldnt pay a much smaller sum to make all this go away.”

The judge presiding over the case imposed a sentence of 60 months, plus $1,467,048.07 in restitution for damages incurred by the some of the group’s victims. It is not clear if Wyatt was indeed the communicator in the aforementioned exchange, or indeed any of the communications between TDO and their victims.

According to reports, Wyatt showed extreme remorse during a Zoom conference with the prosecution. The defendant has also recently been diagnosed with Asperger’s Disorder.

About the author

Filip TRUTA

Filip is an experienced writer with over a decade of practice in the technology realm. He has covered a wide range of topics in such industries as gaming, software, hardware and cyber-security, and has worked in various B2B and B2C marketing roles. Filip currently serves as Information Security Analyst with Bitdefender.