THIS is the first image of the computer hacker who has now fled Ireland after he was nabbed by Garda cyber crime investigators.
Rafal Zientara, 34, is back working in the IT industry in Poland after he was charged with a cyber attack on a McGuirk’s golf shop in Dublin in January 2020.
He returned home after he received a one-year suspended sentence at Dublin District Court earlier this month.
Zientara was charged with five counts of intentionally accessing an information system by “infringing a security measure”.
And he was also charged with four counts of unlawful use of a computer when he was based in Palmerstown, west Dublin.
Once the crook gained access to the company’s IT system, he stole gift vouchers.
The computer expert then used the vouchers to purchase a wide range of goods before shipping them to the UK and Holland.
During the time, he also bought high value goods like GPS watches and later sold them online.
He was only identified by the Garda National Cyber Crime Bureau after the company noticed “anomalies” in its system and brought it to the attention of cops.
Det Garda Paul Fitzpatrick launched a probe before Zientra was later arrested.
He was then hit with the suspended sentence for the cyber crime offences after pleading guilty.
If he had not pleaded guilty, he would have been sent forward for trial at the Circuit Court and could have got a much longer sentence if found guilty.
Zientara is one of many hackers in Ireland who continue to target companies every week.
One former investigator told us: “There are many people like Zientara who are opportunists and will target companies for their own selfish gain.
“But this investigation shows that individuals who operate alone will be targeted by the Gardai and punished by the courts.
“This was an example of someone using their IT background to hack into a company’s system so they could make cash.”
At present, the GNCCB is still investigating the cyber crime attack on the HSE.
Earlier this month, cops seized several websites belonging to the Russian gang behind the attack in a major “disruption operation”.
If anyone logs on to the sites they will see a screen warning the site has been seized by the Gardai.
We also revealed how Irish gangs increased their use of the Darknet during the pandemic.
The hoods have been using the secret area of the web — where hero garda Tony Golden’s killer Adrian Creaven Mackin bought his guns — to smuggle drugs, weapons, stolen cards, Bitcoin and data and engage in money laundering.
The GNCCB is run by Det Chief Supt Paul Cleary, who has urged anyone with information on computer hackers to come forward.
The top officer said: “There are people out there with information on those involved in hacking and we want to hear from them. This can be done on a confidential and anonymous basis.”
The bureau’s investigators break down their probes into ‘Cyber Enabled’ and ‘Cyber Dependent’ crimes.
Cyber Enabled crimes include those committed using computers, but also other electronic devices. Cyber Dependent incidents relate to computers only.
Those who have been affected by cyber crime should contact cops at Garda.ie/cybercrime.