Israeli Living in Mexico Arrested on Suspicion of Blackmailing Companies

Police cyber-unit inquiry showed he hacked firms, threatened to disclose data if they didn’t pay ransom totaling $530,000.

Yaniv Kubovich
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A mock cyber attack scenario. Israel is an emerging power in the cyber security market.
A mock cyber-attack scenario.Credit: AP
Yaniv Kubovich

An Israel Police cyber unit at Ben-Gurion Airport arrested an Israeli man on suspicion of blackmail and attempting to extort 2 million shekels ($530,000) from a number of companies.

According to the investigation, the suspect hacked the computers of several companies and threatened to disclose sensitive information about them unless they paid a ransom. The suspect demanded to be paid in bitcoin.

The Israeli, who lives in Mexico, was tracked by Lahav 433’s cyber unit. Detectives were deployed at the airport and arrested the man as he returned to Israel.

The arrest followed a secret investigation using a so-called Darknet file-sharing network. Darknets are private networks, participation in which is supposed to be limited only to people who know and trust each other.

The suspect will be brought before a judge in Rishon Lezion for an extension of his remand.