Double Trouble: Fantasy Sports Hackers Face Justice

  • TDS News
  • U.S.A
  • January 30, 2024

Image Credit, Tumisu

New York, NY – Two alleged cybercriminals known online as “Snoopy” and “TheMFNPlug” face a six-count criminal complaint for orchestrating a sophisticated hack on a popular fantasy sports and betting website. Nathan Austad and Kamerin Stokes, respectively, are accused of pilfering hundreds of thousands of dollars from thousands of victims through a combination of unauthorized access, stolen account sales, and a cavalier attitude towards online crime.

The complaint details a coordinated attack on November 18, 2022, where Austad and accomplice Joseph Garrison (currently awaiting sentencing) employed a “credential stuffing” technique. This involved using stolen passwords from other data breaches to bypass website security and gain access to user accounts. Over 60,000 accounts were reportedly breached, with the duo adding new payment methods, depositing funds, and ultimately siphoning off existing balances.

But the financial gain wasn’t limited to direct theft. Austad and Stokes allegedly capitalized on their ill-gotten gains by selling access to the compromised accounts on online black markets known as “Shops.” Austad’s “Snoopy”-themed shop and Stokes’ “TheMFNPlug” moniker became infamous within this shady underworld, facilitating further fraud and financial losses for unsuspecting victims.

Investigators say Austad even flaunted his shop’s success using AI-generated tools, seemingly oblivious to the gravity of his actions. They also reportedly linked cryptocurrency accounts containing $465,000 directly to the cybercrime ring.

In total, the scheme is estimated to have stolen upwards of $600,000 from approximately 1,600 accounts. Austad and Stokes now face potential sentences ranging from two to twenty years for charges including conspiracy to commit computer intrusions, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft.

This case highlights the growing trend of sophisticated cyberattacks targeting everyday internet users. U.S. Attorney Damian Williams and FBI Assistant Director James Smith both emphasized their commitment to combating such threats, with Williams announcing a new whistleblower program and Smith underscoring the FBI’s unwavering pursuit of cybercriminals.

As legal proceedings unfold, the Austad and Stokes case will shed light on the intricate networks and brazen tactics employed by online fraudsters. It serves as a stark reminder of the vulnerability of our digital lives and the importance of vigilance in the age of cybercrime. While the defendants may have thought they were operating in the shadows, justice has its own digital footprint, and it’s ready to leave its mark.