According to Czech government officials, a Russian hacker on the FBI wanted list was arrested in a hotel restaurant on October 5. The man is allegedly behind attacks on US companies dating back to 2012, and not a suspect in the recent political hacks, according to sources from Reuters and The New York Times.
Neither government has offered further details on why they arrested the man, only that he was wanted for attacks on US targets. The arrest was part of a joint operation between FBI and Czech law enforcement, and both are remaining purposefully quiet for ‘tactical reasons,’ according to David Schön, a police spokesman.
Police captured the man in central Prague about 12 hours after authorities had heard he was in the country. He was traveling with his girlfriend and driving a luxury car, according to police. He didn’t resist when taken into custody. After a short stint in a local hospital following the arrest due to an undisclosed medical condition, the man is now in a Czech jail.
The FBI dubbed the Czech cooperation as necessary to “successfully defeat cyber adversaries.” Russia, however, took a different view and demanded his release.
How this affects mounting tensions between the US and Russia remains to be seen, but it’s worth noting the arrest happened just two days before the Obama administration formally accused Russia of stealing and leaking documents from the Democratic National Committee.
It’s not clear if this arrest and the subjects subsequent interrogation had any impact on the accusation.