Kurdish rebel hacker faces up to 10 years in jail

Graham Cluley
Graham Cluley
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Authorities in Turkey are seeking a ten year jail sentence for a man who has admitted he was a hacker working for the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), and is alleged to have planted spyware on x-rated websites.

According to media reports from the country, prosecutors are seeking the lengthy sentence on charges of “consciously and willingly aiding a terrorist organisation.”

A computer belonging to the man, who has only been identified by the initials “R Ç”, was found to contain classified information belonging to Turkish General Staff (which oversees the armed forces in the country) and institutions including the General Staff and Turkey’s intelligence agency, Milli Istihbarat Teskilati (MIT).

It has been claimed that the hacker stole confidential information belonging to the General Staff, MIT and other institutions through malware he placed on pornographic websites visited by army members. These sensitive documents are said to have been passed to the PKK.

25 years ago, the PKK launched an armed struggle against the Turkish government, demanding an independent Kurdish state within the country.

This conflict may have started at the dawn of the computer virus era, but it seems more and more common today for combat and espionage to spill over onto the internet.

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Graham Cluley is a veteran of the cybersecurity industry, having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s when he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows. Now an independent analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and is an international public speaker on the topic of cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.