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Indictments issued in hacking, data theft case.

Summary: Beirut's First Investigative Judge Ghassan Oueidat Monday issued indictments against three men involved in hacking a data company and stealing users' information, a judicial source told The Daily Star.

BEIRUT: Beirut's First Investigative Judge Ghassan Oueidat Monday issued indictments against three men involved in hacking a data company and stealing users' information, a judicial source told The Daily Star. The indictments were issued in the case of the hacking of Lebanese company Inconet Data Management SAL (IDM), which in 2017 filed a complaint with the Public Prosecution related to illegal access to the company's internal network and stealing customer's account information and other data.

The case was then handed over to the Internal Security Forces' Information Branch, which through its investigation found that Rami Sakr was responsible for the hacking, via a fake account called "ouser" and a virtual private network, or VPN.

He was assisted in the hacking operation by Ihab Chamas, who said during his testimony that he had known Sakr for seven years, and had on occasion helped him illegally access sites - including IDM.

The program used to gain access to IDM's servers was supplied by Khalil Sehnaoui, a notorious hacker and partner at information firm Krypton Security, Sakr told ISF.

In Monday's indictment, it appeared that Sehnaoui had also asked Sakr to use the program in order to hack into IDM's network and obtain secure data.

Thus, Sakr, Chamas and Sehnaoui were charged with hacking the company's website and storing the data obtained during the hack. Sakr and Chamas were also charged with making a profit from the data, which they allegedly sold to Sehnaoui.

Sehnaoui, however, escaped charges of making a profit from the hack, as he did not sell any of the information he had purchased from Sakr and Chamas.

Sakr, Sehnaoui and Chamas will now appear in front of a criminal court in Beirut on charges of infringement of intellectual property rights and stealing private data.

According to Monday's indictment, Sakr and Chamas were arrested in June last year, while Sehnaoui was arrested in August: all were released in December.

The indictment recommended that all the defendants receive a prison sentence "to preserve the security of the nation."

A fourth defendant mentioned in the indictment, Christopher Derjani, is being tried at the Military Tribunal in a case related to the hacking of public institutions and ministries.

Last week, Military Investigative Judge Brig. Gen. Hussein Abdullah postponed the trial of Sakr, Chamas and Sehnaoui until March 19 after State Security failed to appoint a representative for the case. According to an indictment issued in October last year, Sakr and Chamas are accused of hacking websites belonging to the ISF, General Security and State Security, at the request of Sehnaoui.

For the trial to move forward, a representative from each of the security services needs to be present.

The judicial source told The Daily Star that the cases had been separated into civil and military trials because one is related to private companies, and the other to several public institutions.

The original indictment suggested the defendants serve 15-year prison terms with hard labor.

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Publication:The Daily Star (Beirut, Lebanon)
Geographic Code:7LEBA
Date:Jan 29, 2019
Words:535
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