Hacker who terrorized St. Louis companies sentenced to federal prison

By NewsRadio 1120 KMOX

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - An international hacker, who struck fear in the board rooms of some St. Louis corporations has been sentenced to five years in federal prison and forced to pay $1,467,048 in restitution.

U.S. District Judge Ronnie White for the Eastern District of Missouri sentenced Nathan Wyatt, 39, who participated in a computer hacking collective known as “The Dark Overlord,” which targeted victims in the St. Louis area beginning in 2016.

Wyatt seized patient and client data from local health care providers and accounting firms, threatening to release it on the web unless the companies paid a ransom of between $75,000 and $350,000 in bitcoin. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Gwen Carroll says with one St. Louis CEO, it got personal.

"They sent, really, quite terrifying communications to the CEO of one of the victim companies saying they had pictures of his daughter," Carroll says. "Saying, 'It would be terrible if something bad happened to her.'"

Some texts were even sent directly to the daughter saying "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," the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

"It would be terrible if something happened (to your daughter.)"Imagine getting that message from a hacker. It happened for one St. Louis exec, and the hacker behind it is now going to prison, as @KMOXKilleen reports.LISTEN: https://t.co/C2UsQyWeXS#KMOXRewind

— KMOX St. Louis News (@kmoxnews) September 22, 2020

Wyatt further admitted that he participated 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 Dark Overlord has victimized innumerable employers in the United States, many of them repeatedly," said U.S Attorney Jeff Jensen of the Eastern District of Missouri.  “I am grateful to the victims who came forward despite ransom threats and to the prosecutors and agents who were the first to catch and punish a member of The Dark Overlord in the United States.”

“Cyber hackers mistakenly believe they can hide behind a keyboard,” said Special Agent in Charge Richard Quinn of the FBI’s St. Louis Field Office.  “In this case, the FBI demonstrated once again that it will impose consequences on cyber criminals no matter how long it takes or where they are located.”

One of Wyatt's previous notable hackings came in September 2016, when he stole 3,000 images from an iCloud account belonging to Pippa Middleton, the younger sister of the British royal family member and Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton.

He's also served a 14-month sentence in a British prison for fraud, possession of an identity document with an improper intention and blackmail, according to the Post-Dispatch. 

KMOX's Kevin Killeen contributed to this report.
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