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Global USD 100 mn cybercrime gang busted

AFP  |  The Hague 

US and said Thursday they have smashed a huge international network that used Russian to steal USD 100 million (89 million euros) from tens of thousands of victims worldwide.

Prosecutions have been launched in Georgia, Moldova, and the over the scam, while five Russians charged in the US remain on the run, the EU police agency said.

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

Police in and were also involved.

The cyber gang used GozNym to infect victims' computers, steal their online banking login details and then siphon money from their accounts.

The stolen money was then laundered in US and other accounts.

Scott Brady, the US where the US indictment was unsealed, said the operation was an "unprecedented" international 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 of the GozNym criminal network, Alexander Konovolov, 35, of Tbilisi, who goes by the "NoNe", was arrested in the former Soviet state of Georgia, the said.

His alleged Marat Kazandjian, 31, aka "phant0m," was also arrested in

Konovolov recruited hackers who advertised their services on "Russian-speaking online criminal forums", and eventually controlled the malware-infected computers of more than 41,000 victims, said.

The five Russians charged in the US included the alleged developer of the malware, identified as Vladimir Gorin, but they cannot be extradited because does not send suspects abroad.

Gorin "oversaw its creation, development, management and leasing to other cyber criminals" including the Georgian of the group, Europol said.

One of the Russians, Viktor Eremenko, was arrested in at the request of US authorities in 2017 but "through the intervention of the Russian government" was freed on bail, after which he fled to

Bulgarian was arrested and extradited to the in 2016 and has already pleaded guilty to the charges in the indictment, the said.

meanwhile arrested Gennady Kapkanov, 36, also known as "firestarter", on suspicion of hosting a so-called "Avalanche" network that provided services to more than 200 cybercriminals including the Georgians.

He allegedly fired an assault rifle through the door of his apartment at police, the said.

Europol announced the smashing of the Avalanche network in a major operation in 2016, saying that it had infected half a million computers in 188 countries.

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

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, May 16 2019. 21:11 IST