If you’re going to commit crimes in public, it’s probably smart to secure anything on your person that connects you to other crimes.
A Belgium hacker was found out because he dropped a USB drive during or after throwing a Molotov cocktail at a Crelan Bank in the town of Rumbeke, reports the Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws and ZDNet.
Authorities found a USB drive around where a Molotov cocktail was thrown at the bank in 2014. According to ZDNet, investigators connected information on the drive to a man identified in court documents as Brecht S., who is now 35. A search of Brecht’s devices and history reportedly revealed his involvement in several hacking incidents, including a DDoS attack on the Crelan online banking platform. His cyberattacks took the portal down for many hours on multiple occasions, reports ZDNet.
Brecht reportedly told the court that the DDoS was retaliation, explaining that €300,000 ($342,000) went missing from this mother’s Crelan account after her divorce from his father. Brecht said that when Crelan employees wouldn’t meet with him, he took action.
Brecht reportedly also tried to extort a pizza shop with DDoS attacks, asking for ransom payments in exchange for letting the site function, reports Het Laatste Nieuws.
Investigators found that Brecht was a member of two hacking groups, Cyber Crew and Anonymous Belgium, and reportedly found evidence that he was involved in some of the groups’ larger attacks, namely one targeting FIFA leading up to the 2014 World Cup.
According to Het Laatste Nieuws, Brecht’s lawyer argued that no law explicitly prohibits hacking for an ethical reason, but the newspaper points out that the law is unclear with regards to hacktivism. Anonymous claimed the DDoS attacks against the organization was meant to bring awareness to “injustices committed by FIFA, its sponsors, and governments.”
The investigation also uncovered a hacking partner of Brecht’s, who got off with only a €1,200 ($1,370) fine. But Brecht was sentenced to spend 18 months in prison and pay a fine of €3,000 ($3,400) to the bank. Additionally, he has a prison sentence of three years for arson.