Three former US intelligence agents have admitted to participating in a hacking operation on behalf of the United Arab Emirates, targeting enemies and rivals of the Gulf state, the US Department of Justice said on Tuesday.
Marc Baier, 49, Ryan Adams, 34, and Daniel Gericke, 40, agreed to pay financial penalties totaling $ 1.7 million, the amount of money they earned while working for the Emirates, to suspend legal proceedings against them for violation of US export laws, computer fraud and fraudulent access to computers.
A federal court in Virginia has agreed to defer prosecution for three years in the complex case, which highlights the global hacking market where governments recruit foreign computer security experts to spy on their enemies.
The three men had worked in US intelligence, including the NSA, the US military intelligence agency, before participating from 2016 to 2019 in cyber attacks carried out by an Emirati company linked to the UAE government on various targets, including computer servers in the States. -United, according to American justice.
One of these hacking operations gave them access to “tens of millions“of smartphones, according to the same source.
Beyond the financial sanctions, the defendants have been banned from US intelligence and are prohibited from engaging in hacking activities again.