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Int'l cybercrime gang which stole $100m busted


THE HAGUE: The US and European police said on Thursday they've smashed a huge global cybercrime network that used Russian malware to thieve $100 million (89 million euros) from tens of hundreds of sufferers worldwide.

Prosecutions had been introduced in Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine and the United States over the rip-off, while 5 Russians charged in the USA remain at the run, the EU police agency Europol said.


The "organised crime network behind $100 million in malware attacks" targeted "more than 41,000 victims, primarily businesses and their financial institutions," Europol said.

Police in Germany and Bulgaria were additionally involved.

The cyber gang used GozNym malware to contaminate sufferers' computers, thieve their online banking login details and then siphon money from their accounts.

The stolen money was then laundered in the USA and different accounts.

Scott Brady, the USA Attorney General for the western district of Pennsylvania where the USA indictment was unsealed, said the operation was an "unprecedented" global effort.

"Unsuspecting European and American victims thought they were clicking on a simple invoice, but were instead giving hackers access to their most sensitive information," Brady added.

The alleged chief of the GozNym prison network, Alexander Konovolov, 35, of Tbilisi, who is going by way of the net title "NoNe", was arrested within the former Soviet state of Georgia, the USA Department of Justice said.

His alleged technical assistant Marat Kazandjian, 31, aka "phant0m," was additionally arrested in Georgia.

Konovolov recruited hackers who marketed their products and services on "Russian-speaking online criminal forums", and in the end managed the malware-infected computers of greater than 41,000 sufferers, Europol said.

The 5 Russians charged in the USA integrated the alleged developer of the malware, recognized as Vladimir Gorin, however they cannot be extradited because Russia does no longer send suspects abroad.

Gorin "oversaw its creation, development, management and leasing to other cyber criminals" together with the Georgian alleged chief of the gang, Europol said.

One of the Russians, Viktor Eremenko, was arrested in Sri Lanka on the request of US authorities in 2017 however "through the intervention of the Russian government" was freed on bail, after which he fled to Russia.

Bulgarian Krasimir Nikolov was arrested and extradited to the United States in 2016 and has already pleaded responsible to the charges within the indictment, the DOJ said.


Ukrainian police in the meantime arrested Gennady Kapkanov, 36, often referred to as "firestarter", on suspicion of hosting a so-called "Avalanche" network that supplied products and services to greater than 200 cybercriminals together with the Georgians.


He allegedly fired an attack rifle throughout the door of his apartment at police, the DOJ said.


Europol introduced the smashing of the Avalanche network in a major operation in 2016, announcing that it had contaminated half 1,000,000 computers in 188 international locations.


The latest operation was a follow-up from that, Europol said.


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