A court in the Netherlands has sentenced Pepijn Van der Stap to prison after being found guilty of extortion, hacking, theft and money laundering.
Van der Stap rose to fame after Dutch authorities arrested him in 2023. What makes his case different is that he was also a cybersecurity professional, meaning he sometimes acted as a whitehat hacker.
In the space of three years, from 2021 to 2023, Van der Stap and other people compromised multiple companies' networks, stole information, locked computer systems with ransomware, used blackmail to extort funds, and sold information on the black market and various hacker forums.
The suspect was sentenced to a prison term of four years, including one conditional year, with a probationary period of three years and with special conditions imposed.
"The suspect is guilty of, among other things, computer trespassing, extortion, extortion, stealing non-public data, taking over and making inaccessible data stored in an automated system (ransomware) and habitual money laundering,” said the authorities in a statement.
According to a Bleeping Computer report, Van der Stap was active on various hacking forums and also had a regular cybersecurity job.
"The majority of my criminal hacking activities took place before I started doing lawful work. I had already started cutting back on blackhat hacking before I started working for whitehat entities. Once I began working in legitimate jobs, I really started dedicating my skills to ethical purposes," said Van der Stap in an interview.