The 21-year-old Frenchman, who is being held in Morocco, is believed to be a member of a group of hackers who steal sensitive data around the world. He faces a prison sentence of 116 years in the United States.
When the supervisor called us, we hadn’t heard from him for two days. The airline and the French consulate in Morocco had no information. nothing ! For two and a half months, Paul Raoult has been re-filming the events that changed his son’s life and his own.
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On May 31, friends dropped off the 21-year-old student at Rabat airport. Sebastian had taken a three-month vacation in Morocco, a country he discovered during his apprenticeship. He has put aside his studies at Epitech, the computer school in Nancy, to live his life. His friends were planning to pick him up at Brussels Airport to take him back to his parents in Epinal. Everything is set, except that Sebastian did not appear when he got off the plane. “At first we were like, ‘He’s young, he had to stay, in the end.’ But she wasn’t like him. It’s the style of sending selfies!”
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48 hours later, Paul learns that the FBI has arrested his son. amazement. On the phone, the officer apologized for not being able to provide further details. “What I can tell you is that he is not accused of a blood crime or of attacking state security,” he added. “Oh! We’re assured! The father scoffs before hanging up. The former administrative employee of Fogg department social services, Paul is an energetic young retiree. He lives with his wife in a large, modest house on Epinal Heights. His friends and family have been anxiously awaiting the child’s miracle. His father and brother describe a boy Curious, helpful and friendly. “Unlike his brothers, he was born with a computer at home,” explains Paul, who remembers him as nine doing homework in front of the computer. Back in France, Sebastian had no particular project. His father hoped to Seeing him go back to school, unconcerned, because Sebastian had good companionship, at least in real life.
In virtual life, it’s a different story. Known by his pseudonym, “Sezyo,” in 2019 he teamed up with a group of hackers who post screenshots of their hack on geek forums. The hero of this genre lives in Tarbes.
“They are immature young geniuses,” sweeps Paul Raoult
He suffers from a mild autistic syndrome known as Asperger’s, and he presents himself under the pseudonym “Korwich”. On his Twitter profile, he identifies himself as “iel” (neither he nor she), a researcher in the Western Sahara…His first job ever is hacking several NASA sites in 2015. He’s 15 years old and shines in championships Chess. Bobby Fischer distinguished this from IT three years later by removing the most watched video in the world from the YouTube platform: the clip “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi, which has exceeded 7 billion views. Kuroi’SH humorously claims it was an act of “public health”. He escaped conviction for Asperger’s syndrome, but his partner, a Grenoble man named Prosox, was sentenced to one hundred and forty hours of community service.
During the trial, the judge will advise the two teenagers who have not met before to use their skills “within a legal framework.” Despite the warning, they soon became suspected of stealing the Bitcoin platform. Once again, here they are in court. Prosox is being remanded in custody and luxury goods confiscated, including the car that Korojek proudly stands in front of in a photo posted on social media. The case, under consideration, does not concern Sebastian Raoult.
According to the indictment written on June 23, 2021 by the Washington State District Court, Sebastian, as Korojek and a third Lyon-area thief, “Jordan Keso,” will be a member of the ShinyHunters. Borrowed from the Pokémon Galaxy, a cult series of nerds, the name means a group of pirates who control terror on the web. By deploying a set of traps, they are accused of remotely absorbing the data of individuals, as well as the data of large companies such as Microsoft. Once this data is collected, it ends up in the dark market, the hidden face of the web. Just like at flea markets, we buy and sell data that “falls off the truck.” Sometimes the “goods” are returned to their owners for ransom. The process has a name: ransomware (ransomware in French). On March 30, 2021, an Indian company paid €1.2 million in cryptocurrency to ShinyHunters.
Sebastian languishes in a prison in Rabat with seven of his fellow prisoners, in “acceptable but difficult” conditions.
Paul Raoult does not believe for a moment that his son was engaged in this evil act. For him, if his son allows himself to get away, it’s for the adrenaline. “They are immature young geniuses,” he turns away. This is also the famous hacker of the late 90s, Frenchman Anthony Zboralsky. Installé à Londres, à la tête d’une start-up, il explique que sa motivation n’était pas l’argent: «Je rêvais de devenir astronaute ou espion, mais pirate, j’ai pas eu besoin d’attendre mes 18 Years!” If Sebastian Raoult wasn’t attracted to winnings, why did he start with ShinyHunters? What role did he play? Who pulled the strings?
According to the FBI report, the group has made a name for itself by targeting users of a mutual developer assistance platform called GitHub. Represented by the Octocat kitten logo, another quote from Japanese fiction, the app offers geeks a chance to share their “tokens” in open source. Anyone can take someone else’s work, improve it and pass it on. The site focuses on a large number of computer engineers and coding genius. By targeting them, ShinyHunters collected strategic data and no doubt attracted the attention of the intelligence services. Sezyo’s account, Sébastien’s nickname, would have contributed to this.
On the living room table, a 6000-piece puzzle is in progress; In the kitchen, the coffee pot is smoking and the mind too. Paul Raoult speaks quickly. Her son is in a prison in Rabat with seven other prisoners, in “acceptable but difficult” conditions. “He told me over the phone that he was not afraid to stand trial in the United States and that American judges would recognize his innocence.” Father is less optimistic. He understands that Americans are doing the wrong thing against hackers and is ready to lead punitive campaigns. He risks, in total, up to one hundred and sixteen years in prison.
Just like at flea markets, we sell ‘Fall From the Truck’ data on the dark web
The line of defense of the family’s lawyer is clear: “Why does he pay the price for others on the pretext that he is the only one who has left the area? Me Philippe Ohayon was fired, denouncing the hypocrisy of the force acting as if this case did not concern France. For him, this is where everything must be judged.” At the end of July, Me Ohayon wrote to the Epinal Court to demand the opening of a judicial investigation against his client.Al-Ohayon that he had suffered refusal!In a letter dated July 29, the judge held that there was “no element justifying the perpetration of the facts on the territory of the regiment”.
The attorney challenged the argument in a letter dated August 2, appealing judicial supremacy, arguing that his client was at risk of life imprisonment and inhuman treatment in the United States. He denounced the impossibility of confronting Sebastian with persons in police custody in France. All his efforts crash into a wall of silence. The Ministry of Justice has not sent any extradition request to Morocco. His minister, Eric Dupond Moretti, is an ostrich and presents the arrest of Sebastien Raoult as a matter of Morocco and the United States only.
We now know that the FBI has been investigating France for three years. The US judges sent a request for MLA to their Parisian counterparts on July 21, 2020, then additional requests on May 5 of the following year. The cyber-pole of the Paris Public Prosecutor’s Office, who was taken over, conducted the investigations. The day after Sebastien Raoult’s arrest, an entire “Made in France” hacker group received a visit from police officers of the Sub-Directorate for Combating Cybercrime, some of whom were accompanied by FBI agents.
Bobby Fisher was the number one hacker on both lists. And in Nîmes, “K3LOT3X” was placed in police custody. The next day, magistrate Maren Fontang ordered the return of his phone, Mac and computer, which did not contain “any item useful for the procedure.” This is an honest experience! Anna Ohayon wonders why it was necessary to wait for Sebastien Raoult in Morocco to carry out this operation. “While, he says, they could all be arrested in France, months ago.”