Feds Offer $3 Million Reward For International Cyber Criminal
By: John A. Schwab
Last month, the federal government announced a $3 million reward for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of Evgeniy Mikhailovich Bogachev, a Russian national listed as one the FBI’s Cyber’s Most Wanted. Announced in a joint press release by DOJ, FBI, and the State Department, the reward follows the indictment and related civil lawsuit filed in mid-2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for Bogachev’s alleged role in financially-motivated cyber crime.
He is charged with operating the hacker ring responsible for the GameOver Zeus botnet, a malicious piece of software which allowed a computer to be controlled without the computer’s owner knowing. The botnet was used to capture bank account numbers, PIN’s, and other personal data which were used to access online banking accounts. Once the hackers had access to the bank accounts, the credentials were used to initiate wire transfers to overseas accounts controlled by the hackers. The FBI believes that the botnet infected over 1 million computers, resulting in a loss of more than $100 million to individual and corporate victims.
The Russian is also alleged to be the mastermind behind Cryptolocker, a type of “ransomware,” a malicious software which prevents users from accessing their computer unless a ransom is paid. It is estimated that 25% of the computers infected with Cryptolocker were located inside the United States. Many of the computers infected with Cryptolocker was also infected with the GameOver Zeus botnet. Through the civil suit filed in Pittsburgh, federal law enforcement gained the ability to seize the command and control servers operating Cryptolocker.
Bogachev was added to the FBI’s Cyber’s Most Wanted list in June 2014 but the $3 million reward was only recently announced. Additional information on Bogachev, the GameOver Zeus botnet, and Cryptolocker can be found here.