The U.S. Department of Justice began dismantling the Cryptolocker and Gameover Zeus botnets this week, freeing up to 1 million computers from malware controlled by a legendary Russian hacker “Slavik,” real name Evgeniy Mikhailovitch Bogachev.
You can read the DOJ’s press release here. Bogachev has been charged in a 14-count indictment with conspiracy, computer hacking, wire fraud, bank fraud and money laundering.
But USA Today has an enlightening story on the scale of Slavik’s operations: His botnets took up to $US100 million from their victims. Cryptolocker, for instance, would lock down users’ files and render them inaccessible unless the owner paid a ransom fee. Gameover Zeus tempted users to click on an email link. That link would then surreptitiously install a keylogger on the machine, which Slavik would allegedly use to figure out your bank account numbers and passwords. In one operation, Slavik launched a denial-of-service attack (a massive number of fake traffic requests from his botnet) at PNC Bank. While PNC was scrambling to defend its web sites from the attack, Slavik removed $US198,000 from a single account, belonging to a plastics company in Pennsylvania.
The most frustrating part of all is that Slavik remains free, USA Today notes:
Bogachev, 30, who lives luxuriously in Anapa, Russia, a beautiful seaside resort town of 60,000 on the northern coast of the Black Sea, and often sails his yacht to various Black Sea ports, remains a fugitive.
Here’s the FBI’s wanted poster for him: