An 18-year-old Israeli-American dual citizen, who was arrested and charged as a darknet hacker and cyber threat earlier this year, is suspected of offering bomb threats as a service on the dark web.
Michael Kadar, 18, was arrested in March by Israeli law enforcement authorities. He was charged later on by U.S. authorities with placing threatening calls to Jewish Community Centers (JCCs), falsifying information to law enforcement regarding individuals in Georgia, and cyberstalking. During his criminal operation, Kadar allegedly made threatening calls to JCCs in multiple countries, however, his main focus was the United States. Every time the police responded to the threats, the vicinity needed clearing, people needed evacuation, and full lockdowns often occurred.
Law enforcement authorities had a tough time catching Kadar. The 18-year-old used Spoofcard, a service, which allows users to mask their voices and phone numbers. The FBI subpoenaed the company and discovered that the defendant used a Google Voice number for his Spoofcard account. The next step of the federal agency was to request data from Google, however, since the suspect used proxy servers, the FBI could not find any leads that they could use for their investigation.
After a while, Kadar made a mistake by neglecting to mask his IP address when he called his usual targets. The FBI, with the help of the Israeli National Police, unmasked the 18-year-old’s IP and determined his real location. In the course of the investigation, law enforcement authorities also discovered that Kadar allegedly sold narcotics on the dark web. He also “traded millions of dollars in bitcoin digital currency on the darknet,” according to the federal agency. When investigators arrested the suspect, in addition to the drugs, they also found out that Kadar sold forged passports, driver’s licenses and other identity documentation on the dark web.
Now, as law enforcement authorities have taken down the darknet marketplace AlphaBay in a coordinated global action, the FBI discovered that Kadar allegedly ran an email bomb threat service on the darknet marketplace.
“That ongoing investigation has identified a suspect believed to have ordered and paid for at least [sic] of the bomb threats made by Kadar,” federal prosecutors explained in one court filing. “The FBI and local authorities in California intend to pursue criminal charges against the suspect.”
Law enforcement discovered new details in Kadar’s case after, in July, a federal judge in Washington agreed to unseal the search warrant application, which described how the FBI reviewed emails, call records and other images. All of the information was discovered on a USB drive found in Kadar’s home when law enforcement authorities raided his place. According to the federal prosecutors, it was necessary to unseal the warrant since investigators need it in order to prosecute the alleged client of the 18-year-old in California.
The search warrant revealed information on the alleged advertisements of Kadar on the now defunct AlphaBay marketplace. Investigators have identified a seller as the 18-year-old who advertised a “School Email Bomb Threat Service”. Darknet customers had the option to choose from two pricings. The email bomb threat cost $30, however, if a customer wanted to “frame someone for it”, he or she could pay $15 more. According to the CNN, there were multiple customer reviews under the listing.
“Amazing on time and on target. We got evacuated and got the day cut short,” one of the satisfied customers wrote under the AlphaBay listing. The warrant explained that the date and the timestamp of the review matched the media reports about an evacuation of a school in March.
Currently, Kadar is charged with more than 100 bomb threats, which he allegedly carried out in the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. While the prosecution did not state that the 18-year-old not just made threats but carried out the actions, the federal complaint detailed that Kadar’s actions had such impact on the institutions he targeted that many of them were evacuated or locked down.
As Kadar’s trial is pending, the 18-year-old remains in Israeli custody.