Has Phineas Fisher (HackBack) really been arrested by Spanish Police? Reports indicate that the Robinhood of hacking is still at large!
Spain’s National Police Corps claim to have arrested one of the most popular hackers of our times, Phineas Fisher. Phineas Fisher who is also known as HackBack is famous for hacking the Gamma Group and Hacking Team, two companies that sold cyber-surveillance software to oppressive regimes. He is also the Robinhood hacker who famously stole $11,000 in bitcoins and donated it to an anti-capitalist Kurdish group in Rojava, Syria. He also published a video explaining how he hacked into the Hacking Team computers as a tutorial for wannabe hackers.
According to Spanish (Catalan) newspaper ARA, Spanish police claimed they arrested Phineas Fisher in Salamanca, but they are also currently searching the Sants neighborhood in Barcelona for more suspects, which they suspect worked with Fisher. While the Associated Press did not name Phineas Fisher, in it’s report it stated that a spokesman for Catalonia’s regional police Mossos d’Esquadra revealed that one woman and two men were arrested for hacking the servers of Sindicat De Mossos d’Esquadra (SME) and leaking personal information around 5000 police officers. The suspects are from Barcelona and Salamanca.
While the above two news reports indicate that the person arrested by Spanish police may indeed be Phineas Fisher. Motherboard Vice has a different opinion. It’s report states that “Phineas Fisher” is still at large because they have been in conversation with Phineas Fisher. In an email conversation, the hacker told a Vice contact that he is aware of the arrests and claims that police has arrested wrong people.“I think the Mossos just arrested some people that retweeted the link to their personal info, or maybe just arrested some activity/anarchisty people to pretend they are doing something,” Phineas Fisher told Motherboard in an email conversation.
Vice also reported that the conversation between them and Phineas Fisher took place on the same email address which was being used by the hacker for the past few months. It must be noted that Vice could not confirm if the person who wrote the email is Phineas Fisher or someone having access to the email previously used by Phineas Fisher.
While both news reports look equally convincing, we would like to go with the Motherboard’s report. Phineas Fisher, who was much active in 2016 appears to have gone dark since the start of the year. He has deleted his Reddit profile where he was very active. He has also deleted all tweets from his Twitter account. All this indicates that perhaps he has sensed that the law authorities were getting too close to him for comfort.
As this is a developing story, we will continue updating the developments in the case.