Welcome, Guest! - or
Easy to remember!  »  VinNews.com

Washington - Officials In US, Europe Charge 10 In $100M Malware Attacks

Published on: May 16, 2019 08:29 AM
By: AP
Change text size Text Size  
Suspects of cybercrime are seen on the screen at the news conference to announce a major law enforcement action against a transnational organised cybercrime at the Europol's headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands, May 16, 2019. REUTERS/Eva PlevierSuspects of cybercrime are seen on the screen at the news conference to announce a major law enforcement action against a transnational organised cybercrime at the Europol's headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands, May 16, 2019. REUTERS/Eva Plevier

Washington - Ten people have been charged in connection with malicious software attacks that infected tens of thousands of computers and caused more than $100 million in financial losses, U.S. and European authorities announced Thursday.

Advertisement:

The malware, which enabled cyber criminals from Eastern Europe to take remote control of infected computers and siphon funds from victims’ bank accounts, targeted companies and institutions across all sectors of American life. Victims included a Washington law firm, a church in Texas, a furniture business in California and a casino in Mississippi.

The defendants come from six nations and several are awaiting prosecution in Europe. An 11th defendant in a related case was extradited to the U.S. from Bulgaria in 2016 and pleaded guilty last month in federal court in Pittsburgh, where Thursday’s case was brought.

The charges include conspiracy to commit computer fraud, conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Though the Justice Department has pursued multiple malware prosecutions in recent years against foreign hackers, this case stands out as a model of international collaboration, said Scott Brady, the United States attorney in Pittsburgh.

Instead of seeking the immediate extradition of all 10 defendants — an often cumbersome process that can take years of negotiations, even in countries that have treaties with the U.S. — prosecutors will first bring charges against several of them in the East European countries of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia.

“It represents a paradigm change in how we prosecute cybercrime,” Brady said in an interview with The Associated Press ahead of a news conference in The Hague with representatives of the six countries.

The investigation was an outgrowth of the Justice Department’s dismantling in 2016 of a network of computer servers, known as Avalanche, which hosted more than two dozen different types of malware.

“For the past three years, we have been unpeeling an onion as it were that is very challenging to investigate and identify,” Brady said.

The malware cited in the current court case infected 41,000 computers, relying on spam emails that were disguised as legitimate messages or invoices, officials said. Once opened, the emails enabled hackers operating from Europe to record the keystrokes from the victims’ computers, steal banking log-in credentials and wire money away from accounts.

Brady said that while prosecutors always look to recover stolen funds, that effort is especially challenging in international cybercrime cases.

“Proceeds were converted to bitcoin and without the private key, it is really hard to identify and access, let alone seize, those accounts,” Brady said.



More of today's headlines

Tehran - Iran has developed software to protect its industry against the Stuxnet computer virus, the Iranian communications minister said on Thursday, after accusing... New York - New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday that he will seek the Democratic nomination for president, adding his name to an already long list of...

 

Total2

Read Comments (2)  —  Post Yours »

1

 May 16, 2019 at 08:39 AM Normal Says:

If you can add up all the agmas nefesh these animals caused, I don't know of a worthy punishment for them.

2

 May 16, 2019 at 01:30 PM Anonymous Says:

one hundred million dollars
wow, I'm impressed
I can't even get my iPhone to work properly

3

Sign-in to post a comment

Click here to sign-in.

Scroll Up
Advertisements:
Sell your scrap gold and broken jewelry and earn hard cash sell gold today!