Why the US is offering $3 million for information on this Russian hacker

Evgeniy Mikhailovich BogachevFBIHave you seen this man?

The US State Department, Department of Justice, and the FBI have announced a $US3 million reward for information leading to the arrest of a Russian hacker. It’s the highest bounty the US has ever placed on a cyber criminal.

Russian hacker Evgeniy Mikhailovich Bogachev, also known through his web aliases of “lucky12345” and “slavik,” is wanted for his role as an administrator in a malicious software scheme that infected over one million computers.

“The software, known as ‘Zeus’ and ‘GameOver Zeus,’ enabled contributors to the scheme to steal banking information and empty the compromised accounts, resulting in the theft of more than $US100 million from U.S. businesses and consumers,” a State Department press release notes.

According to an FBI press release, Bogachev’s malware was “extremely sophisticated.” The malicious software either logged user’s keystrokes for passwords and bank pins or redirected computer users to false pages where unsuspecting victims then entered their bank account information.

CNET reports that GameOver Zeus first appeared in 2011 as a modified form of the Zeus malware. Zeus had was first noticed in 2007 after it infected over 13 million computers and resulted in the theft of hundreds of millions of dollars.

CybersecurityLarry Downing/ReutersUS President Barack Obama delivers remarks next to Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson (L) at the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center in Arlington, Virginia, January 13, 2015.

Bogachev has been in the crosshairs of the US government for almost three years. The FBI’swanted posternotes that the cyber criminal was first indicted under the name “lucky12435” by a federal grand jury in Nebraska for bank fraud and aggravated identity theft in 2012, among other charges.

In 2014, Borgachev was also indicted by name in a federal grand jury in the Western District of Pennsylvania on wire fraud and bank fraud charges.

Borgachev is believed to be living in Russia. Reuters reports that the Russian FSB, its internal security agency, has “expressed tentative interest in working with US authorities on investigating cybercrimes.” It is unclear if this cooperation will include landing Borgachev, who is now one of the world’s most notorious cyber-criminals.

Borgachev is on the FBI’s Cyber Most Wanted list.

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