A Syrian cybercriminal faces 5 years in prison after pleading guilty to extortion conspiracy and computer hacking. 37 year-old Peter Romar together with Firas Dardar, also known as “The Shadow”, went after critics of Syrian President Assad’s regime, many of which are humanitarian groups, the US and foreign governments and western media agencies.
“Today’s guilty plea is by the latest international offender who believed that he could operate from abroad, behind the perceived veil of anonymity offered by the Internet, and use computers to threaten the security of our citizens and their property,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin.
Starting with 2011, the online hacker group is a strong supporter of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and has been using malware, phishing, spam attacks and DDoS to attack entities speaking out against him and his government.
Assad has been accused of crimes against humanity and war crimes. Many Western leaders have spoken against his actions of extermination of his own people through chemical weapons, bombs, starvation, malnutrition and kidnapping.
Romar launched spear-phishing attacks against CNN, National Public Radio, the Associated Press, Reuters, Microsoft Corp, Harvard University and Human Rights Watch, informed the US Department of Justice on Wednesday. In 2013, the two were also involved in their own extortion scheme targeting businesses in the US for personal profit.
Romar was living in Germany before he was extradited to the US. Firas Dardar hasn’t been captured yet.