A man linked who used the name “TheDarkOverlord” has been sentenced to serve three years in jail for fraud and blackmail offences at the Southwark Crown Court. However, he was not convicted for any cyberattacks or extortion attempts related to the TheDarkOverlord gang.
Nathan Wyatt, 36, from Wellingborough, England, known online as the Crafty Cockney, pleaded guilty to 20 counts of fraud by false representation, a further two counts of blackmail, and one count of possession of a false identity document with intent to deceive. Judge Martin Griffiths sentenced Wyatt to serve three years in jail for these offences. At the sentencing hearing, Judge Griffiths suggested Wyatt was responsible for many more crimes other than those pursued via the courts. Some of these crimes are related to the TheDarkOverlord, a prolific hacking group.
In September 2016, Wyatt was caught by police for attempting to broker the sale of photographs of Pippa Middleton, sister to the Duchess of Cambridge. The photographs were illegally obtained when of her iPhone had been hacked. Wyatt claimed he was not responsible for the hack of Middleton’s iPhone, and the charges in relation to this particular case were dropped.
While the police were investigating the original charge, Wyatt’s computer was seized. Evidence on the laptop quickly showed that Wyatt was guilty of other crimes. In January 2017, Wyatt was arrested for using a false identity document and fraud offences. He was arrested for a second time in March for blackmail offences.
Police discovered that Wyatt had used stolen credentials to apply for a payment card, although the application was denied. Wyatt had also used his deceased step father’s credit card to make a string of online purchases, including computer games and mobile phones. The Northamptonshire Telegraph reported that Wyatt incurred a debt of £4,750 on the card.
Wyatt used the name “The Dark Overlords” in a ransom demand in which he attempted to obtain a payment of €10,000 in Bitcoin from a UK legal firm. During the extortion attempt, Wyatt stole around 10,000 files from the unnamed Humberside law firm using malware to gain access to the files on the law firm’s server.
Wyatt claimed that he intended to sell the files to Russian and Chinese customers if the ransom was left unpaid. The files included personally identifiable information, such as scans of driver’s licences and passports. Investigations into the crime could not determine whether Wyatt hacked the law firm or if he used stolen credentials to gain access to its system to install malware.
Wyatt’s partner, Kelly Walker, 35, was also arrested in association with Wyatt’s crimes. She was charged with handling stolen goods and encouraging or assisting offences, but she was acquitted when prosecutors failed to provide any evidence to support the charges.
It is unclear whether Wyatt was a member of the Dark Overlord hacking group, or if he was a copycat that used the group’s name. Dissent from Databreaches.net pointed out in a recent blog post that Wyatt was allegedly supposed to make a call to one of the Dark Overlord’s victims in Georgia to put pressure on the clinic to pay the ransom demand. Wyatt was also allegedly responsible for opening back accounts in the UK on behalf of the Dark Overlord to take payments sent from hacking victims in the United States.
Despite being sentenced to three years, Wyatt is likely to be released in 18 months. In the UK, prisoners serving between 1 and 4-year jail terms are usually released after they have served half of their sentence, with the rest of the sentence served on probation. Wyatt has not been charged for any offences in the United States.