Ashkelon hacker sentenced to ten years prison over US bomb threats

November 23, 2018 by TPS
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A 19-year-old Israeli-American teenager has been sentenced Thursday to 10 years in prison and fined NIS 60,000 (A$22,000) after being convicted in June on multiple counts of bomb threats to airports, schools and Jewish centres in 2016 and 2017.

Photo by Adi Gefen/TPS

Dubbed the Ashkelon hacker, the teen’s identity remains under a gag order as he committed most of the crimes when he still was a minor.

The teen was convicted of making over 2,000 bomb threats, mostly in the United States, but also in Israel, including against plane flights,  as well as extortion, publishing false information, cyber crimes and money laundering as well as several other counts.

While Judge Tzvi Gorfinkel rejected claims that he was mentally unfit to stand trial, as he suffers from autism, in his ruling Thursday he said he had taken into account his medical condition in passing sentencing. “Were it not for his condition, I would have sentenced him to 17 years in prison,” Gorfinkel said.

The teen’s attorney Yoram Sheftel said he planned to appeal the decision. Citing biblical commentary, he said: As our Sages commented, ‘He who is compassionate to the cruel will ultimately become cruel to the compassionate.’ A justice system that is compassionate to the murderers of Hezbollah unsurprisingly is cruel to an autistic person with 100 per cent mental disability.”

The cyber unit of the Israel Police arrested the teen at his home in the southern coastal city of Ashkelon on March 2017 after a trans-Atlantic investigation conducted together with the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and other international law enforcement agencies.

Police said they found sophisticated “camouflage technologies” used to disguise his voice and hide his identity, along with antennae and satellite equipment.

He recorded all of his threats and kept them in organized files along with news articles describing the police responses to the threats. He paid for the online calls using Bitcoin because of its semi-anonymous nature. The police uncovered NIS 900.000 worth of the cryptocurrency in an account held by the teen who apparently earned the money trading in Bitcoin. However, Gorfinkel said the teen retained control of his digital wallet.

Prior to the trial, the Israeli Ministry of Justice was reported to have denied an informal request from the US to extradite the teen.

Australia’s ABC reported: “The man, who has not been named in the proceedings in Israel due to his status as a minor when the offences took place, has been identified as Michael Kadar in separate indictments in the United States for alleged hate crimes.

The court in Tel Aviv had convicted Kadar of counts that included extortion, disseminating hoaxes in order to spread panic, money laundering and computer hacking over bomb and shooting threats against community centres, schools, shopping malls, police stations, airlines and airports in North America, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Norway and Denmark.”



One Response to “Ashkelon hacker sentenced to ten years prison over US bomb threats”
  1. Adrian Jackson says:

    This more serious than what Julian Assange did a decade ago. 5 years in an embassy in London is “punishment” enough for Julian.

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