Posted on December 1, 2020 at 4:49 PM
A hacker, who was a member of the Apophis hacking group, has been sentenced for eight years for making phony bombing and shooting threats to schools in the U.S. and the U.K., the report reveals.
Timothy Dalton, 22, was sentenced at the U.S. attorney’s office for the Central District of California.
His crimes include hacking, conspiracy, and possession of child pornography videos and photos. Dalton made use of online handles for his criminal activity, including “Hacker_R_US” and “WantedByFeds”.
He was part of the hacking syndicate that was called “Apophis Squad”, and was convicted last year. The hacking group has been described as a group of worldwide hackers that send threats through email reports and calls. He threatened schools and companies around the world with fake bombs.
Apophis Squad escalated fake bomb threats
According to court documents, the hacking syndicate threatened their targets and extorted them when they fall for the threats. However, the group claims it’s responsible for launching several DDoS attacks through Twitter accounts.
Although there are other hacking groups involved in DDoS attacks, the Apophis Squad raise their game to another level last year. They escalated online nuisance to another level for no cause. The Apophis Squad said they carried out several bomb threats against different targets such as in schools, government agencies, airports, and other private firms.
After the hacking group intensified their efforts on targets, law enforcement started their crackdowns, especially when their plane was forced to make an emergency landing after one of such threats.
In August 2018, the gang leader Duke Cohan was arrested by the British police. The hackers used pseudonyms such as “7R1D3N7”, “Digital Crimes”, and “Optcz1”.
Cohan was linked with fake bomb intimidation and DDoS blackmail. In the fall of 2018, the hackers were sentenced to three years in jail.
In a similar case in the U.S., the authorities also fingered Cohan in a $20,000 DDoS blackmail. According to the report on the case, Cohan was involved in an intimidation and threat of a Long Beach firm as well as 86 school districts alongside other conspirators who used fuel bombs and ammonium nitrate.
During the home searches and subsequent arrest, the Federal Bureau of Investigation discovered child pornography material on the accused device.
Timothy Dalton was charged and sentenced for a total of 95 months (7 years and 11 months) for possession of child pornography and other charges.
He was arrested in February last year and pleaded guilty nine months later. However, there has been in his sentencing due to the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Apophis group was a typical loudmouth hacking unit that boasts about carrying out attacks in several organizations and institutions, threatening to carry out the same if a stated amount is not paid to them.
The group made headlines in the first half of 2018 but went underground after law enforcement agencies started arresting some of its members.
They also carried out extortion attacks, where they threatened their victims (which is mostly empty threats) to pay them money or risk being attacked.
When they started threatening targets with such brazen tactics, a law enforcement crackdown began, as some members of the group were caught doing their extortion act.
Fake bomb threats on the increase
The numbers of bomb threats by hackers have increased in recent months, despite law enforcement crackdowns. In February, when federal authorities picked Timothy Dalton, the authorities alleged that he has bragged about his attacks on Twitter using multiple aliases.
But KrebsOnSecurity was quick to launch an investigation to fish out the real identity of the hacker, after contributing majorly to the arrest of “opticz”, the group’s squad leader.
However, some of the group members are still at large, but the security researchers and law enforcement are making progress to make sure most of the members are hunted down, according to KrebsOnSecurity.