09:20 GMT25 October 2020
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    The United States has accused Nikulin of illegally accessing a range of websites, including LinkedIn, Dropbox and Formspring, with the aim of fraud.

    A US court in San Francisco has sentenced Russian national Yevgeniy Nikulin to 88 months in prison for cybercrime-related offences.

    Nikulin's lawyer has said that his defendant has about two years left to serve in prison, adding that his sentence will be appealed.

    "This is a hard one because when he returns [to Russia] I think he will return to being a hacker again", Judge William Alsup of the Northern District of California said during the live-streamed hearing on Tuesday. "But we can't just lock him up and throw away the key".

    Alsup added that Niklun "put the identities of millions of individuals at risk".

    Prosecutors had demanded at least 12 years in prison, while the defence asked for time served. His lawyer believes that the sentence should have been milder, but was pleased that the judge had reduced the prosecutors' demands.

    Nikulin was arrested in Prague on 5 October 2016. The FBI suspected him of hacking LinkedIn, Dropbox and Formspring, stealing about 17 million user logins and passwords, and then trying to sell them online. The Russian authorities, who charged Nikulin with Internet fraud in 2009, requested his extradition on the same day as the United States, but the Czech Republic's Justice Ministry granted the US request.

    Nikulin has been one of several other Russian nationals accused of cybercrimes by the United States. He has never pleaded guilty.

    judge, court, cybersecurity, crime, Russia
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