Nine Charged with Using Zeus Malware to Steal Millions

Nine alleged cybercriminals were recently charged with using Zeus malware to capture online banking passwords, personal identification numbers, RSA SecureID token codes and bank account numbers, and using that data to steal millions of dollars from victims’ bank accounts (h/t Sophos).

The defendants allegedly told banks that they were employees of the victims, and were authorized to make funds transfers from their accounts.

All nine defendants were charged by a federal grand jury in August 2012 with conspiracy to participate in racketeering activity, conspiracy to commit computer fraud and identity theft, aggravated identity theft, and multiple counts of bank fraud. The indictment was unsealed on April 11, 2014.

The nine are Yuriy Konovalenko, 31, of Ukraine; Yevhen Kulibaba, 36, of Ukraine; Vyacheslav Igorevich Penchukov, 32, of Ukraine; Ivan Viktorvich Klepikov, 30, of Ukraine; Alexey Dmitrievich Bron, 26, of Ukraine; Alexey Tikonov of Russia; and three others identified as John Doe #1, John Doe #2 and John Doe #3.

“This case illustrates the vigorous cooperation between national and global law enforcement agencies and sends a strong message to cyber thieves,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Thomas R. Metz said in a statement. “The FBI and our international partners will continue to devote resources to finding better ways to safeguard our systems, fortify our cyber defenses and stop those who do us harm.”

The case was investigated by the FBI’s Omaha Cyber Task Force, with assistance from the U.K.’s Metropolitan Police Service, the National Police of the Netherlands’ National High Tech Crime Unit, and the Security Service of Ukraine.

“The Zeus malware is one of the most damaging pieces of financial malware that has ever been used,” Acting Assistant Attorney General David A. O’Neil said in a statement. “As the charges unsealed today demonstrate, we are committed to making the Internet more secure and protecting the personal information and bank accounts of American consumers.”

Jeff Goldman
Jeff Goldman has been a technology journalist for more than 20 years and an eSecurity Planet contributor since 2009.

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