Cybercriminal network which stole €89.3 million dismantled - Europol

Cybercriminal network which stole €89.3 million dismantled - Europol

At the European Union law enforcement agency Europol on Thursday, authorities announced details of a coordinated operation to dismantle an global cybercrime network.

The five Russians charged in the United States included the alleged developer of the malware, identified as Vladimir Gorin, but they can not be extradited because Russia does not send suspects overseas. Once opened, the emails allowed hackers operating from Europe to record the keystrokes from victims' computers, steal banking log-in credentials and siphon money from accounts.

"Really at this point it doesn't take a lot of audacity", he says. "And the payoff can be pretty large".

A number of email spammers were then recruited to distribute phishing emails to potential victims in an attempt to place the GozNym malware on their computers.

An indictment made public Thursday alleges that 10 members of a criminal organization used the GozNym malware, a banking trojan that infects internet browsers and was compiled from two other known pieces of malware, to steal victims' login credentials, steal their money and then launder those funds through USA and foreign bank accounts. A number of USA businesses and their financial institutions fell victim to GozNym, especially in Western Pennsylvania, where federal investigators and prosecutors later conducted an operation. The charges include conspiracy to commit computer fraud, conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Other victims included a Washington law firm, a church in Texas, a furniture business in California, a casino in MS and a Pennsylvania asphalt and paving business.

Gang members in four countries have been charged - a coup for cyber-crime fighters who say the discovery of this sophisticated scam demonstrates the borderless nature of cyber-crime and need for cross border co-operation to detect and disrupt these networks.

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Five are from Russian Federation and remain on the lam, Brady said. The FBI has released a "wanted" poster with photos and more details about them.

The alleged leader of the GozNym criminal network, Alexander Konovolov, 35, of Tbilisi, who goes by the online name "NoNe", was arrested in the former Soviet state of Georgia, the US Department of Justice said.

The U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania presented the charges, along with officials from Germany, Moldova, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Georgia, and the European Union law enforcement and justice agencies Europol and Eurojust. The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania issued a federal arrest warrant for them in April.

Criminal prosecutions are underway in Georgia and Moldova. In Ukraine, law enforcement arrested Gennady Kapkanov, 36, for allegedly shooting an assault rifle through his apartment door during a police raid that targeted network servers. He is being prosecuted for his alleged involvement in the GozNym network.

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

USA attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Scott Brady stood alongside prosecutors and cyber-crime fighters from five other nations inside Europol's high security headquarters, to announce the takedown of what he described as a "global conspiracy".

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