Recorded Future, an American security company, claims that he revealed the real identity of a well-known hacker who in 2016, allegedly marketed too many databases from the companies MySpace, Badoo, Dropbox, LinkedIn and Twitter.
The hacker's nickname is Tessa88, but Recorded Future claims that behind it is 29-year-old Maksim Vladimirovich Donakov, from Penza, Russia.
Tessa88 is known as one of the two hackers - along with Peace_of_Mind - who are behind the so-called "mega breaches" we saw in 2016.
Some of the databases published online by Tessa88 contained user data and sometimes passwords from MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn, Dropbox, Badoo, QIP, Rambler, VKontakte and Mobango. Peace_of_Mind also released some of the same databases, but also different ones.
But neither Tessa88 nor Peace_of_Mind were the real hackers who broke into these companies. Both referred to many interviews given to the media, that they only acted as intermediaries for a group of hackers who carried out the hacks.
Both were not active for long. Researchers observed Tessa88 active while trying to sell the databases in underground hacking forums and in Dark Web markets in February and May 2016.
However, despite the limited activity of Tessa88, Recorded Future announced today that it has managed to link several online identities under the pseudonym Tessa88 and later with Maksim Donakov.
The researchers found videos on YouTube, images from forums and Imgur, as well as three profiles on Odnoklassniki (A Russian social network for classmates) that provided enough evidence to identify Maksim Donakov as the person behind Tessa88. The two most important indications were:
Photos of Donakov's face that had many profiles, linking various alternative Tessa88 nicknames.
A YouTube video showing the license plate of one of Tessa88's alternate names, which later revealed Donakov's real name.
Below is an infographic of Recorded Future, which shows in detail their findings.