“Encountering the Cyber-Criminals of the Future: A Look into 2023”

This year was no different to last: we saw another round of high-profile busts, arrests, sanctions, and prison time for some of the most prolific cybercriminals in recent years. Twitter took drastic measures to rid the hackers from its network by temporarily blocking all of the site’s 200-million-plus users from posting. A New York judge sentenced the 24-year-old hacker to five years in prison, two of which O’Connor already served in pre-trial custody. Federal prosecutors this year accused a former Amazon employee of hacking into a cryptocurrency exchange and stealing millions worth of customers’ crypto. Why did a Russian man accused by U.S. prosecutors of ransomware attacks burn his passport?

Cybercrime Recap: A Year of Losses in the World of Cybercrime

Cybercrime Recap: A Year of Losses in the World of Cybercrime

As another year draws to a close, we reflect on the past 12 months in the world of cybercrime and the individuals who were caught by the long arm of the law. Just like every year prior, this one saw a slew of high-profile busts, arrests, and convictions, resulting in prison time for some of the most notorious cybercriminals of recent years.

Nabbed and Busted: A Look Back at Who Was Caught

Let’s take a look at some of the biggest cybercrime losses of the year, featuring a range of individuals who were caught, including:

  • Joseph James O’Connor: Once a highly-wanted hacker by the feds and the public alike, O’Connor was eventually sentenced to five years in prison for his involvement in the Twitter hack that targeted high-profile accounts such as Apple, Joe Biden, and Elon Musk.
  • Shakeeb Ahmed: Initially thought to be an ethical hacker offering to return stolen cryptocurrency in exchange for a bug bounty, Ahmed was ultimately caught and pleaded guilty to hacking into a cryptocurrency exchange and stealing millions from its customers.
  • Mikhail Matveev: Accused by U.S. prosecutors of ransomware attacks, Matveev famously burned his passport, citing the fear of extradition to the U.S. and other countries who would bring charges against him for his crimes.
  • North Korean Hackers: Proving to be busier than ever this year, North Korean hackers were responsible for numerous attacks on popular crypto wallets and major projects in an effort to fund their sanctioned nuclear weapons program.
  • Denis Gennadievich Kulkov: After ten years, authorities were finally able to identify and take down the mastermind behind Try2Check, a credit card checking operation that earned Kulkov over $18 million in illicit profits.
  • Pompompurin: The administrator of the infamous cybercrime forum BreachForums, Pompompurin, was arrested by the FBI on charges of computer hacking, wire fraud, and possession of child abuse imagery.
  • Operation Duck Hunt: In an effort to knock the notorious Qakbot malware group offline, the FBI launched Operation Duck Hunt, successfully tricking the malware into downloading an uninstaller developed by the agency.
  • Arion Kurtaj: Involved with the prolific Lapsus$ hacking group, Kurtaj was sentenced to an indefinite hospital order after the judge deemed him a high risk to the public due to his skills and motivation to continue committing cybercrime.

The Impact of Cybercrime

From stolen cryptocurrency to major data breaches, cybercrime has significant consequences for both individuals and corporations. As these cybercriminals are brought to justice, it serves as a reminder of the devastating impact their actions can have on innocent victims.


As we bid farewell to the year, we look back on a year of losses in the world of cybercrime. These individuals and groups may have thought they were above the law, but in the end, justice was served. Let’s hope that in the years to come, we see a decrease in these crimes as authorities continue to crack down on cybercrime.

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Zara Khan

Zara Khan is a seasoned investigative journalist with a focus on social justice issues. She has won numerous awards for her groundbreaking reporting and has a reputation for fearlessly exposing wrongdoing.

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