Thursday, 13 August, 2020


FBI Puts $5 Million Bounty On Russian Hackers Behind Dridex Banking Malware

AFP via Getty Images FILE
A podium with the Department of justice seal stands at the Department of Justice in Washington D.C AFP via Getty Images FILE A podium with the Department of justice seal stands at the Department of Justice in Washington D.C
Bennie Garza | 06 December, 2019, 02:54

Maksim V. Yakubets, 32, of Moscow and Igor Turashev, 38, from Yoshkar-Ola, Russia were charged in the 10-count indictment filed in federal court in Pittsburgh.

Yakubets was already on the FBI's most wanted cybercriminals list and is now accused of leading a gang that used malicious programs to track the keystrokes of American victims and steal their banking login information.

Losses totaled US$70 million in the United States alone, officials said. According to Motherboard, the NCA's photos appear to show that Evil Corp members owned a custom-painted Audi R8, a camouflage Lamborghini Huracan, and a painted Nissan GTR, all vehicles in the six-figure range.

Both men are believed to be in Russian Federation, and face possible extradition to the United States if they are arrested in other countries.

Simultaneously, the U.S. Treasury Department announced sanctions against Yakubets and his Evil Corp, which is behind the widespread use of a multifunctional malware package that has harvested online banking credentials from infected computers in more than 40 countries. He's since developed a cybercrime empire through Evil Corp, which develops and distributes Dridex with the help of dozens of hired accomplices based out of Moscow.

Victims included the Sharon City School District in Western Pennsylvania, Penneco Oil, 84 Lumber, a luggage business in New Mexico and a community of Franciscan sisters in Chicago.

Yakubets is believed to be living in Russian Federation, and the State Department has offered a $5 million reward for anybody who provides information that leads to his arrest. The FBI also indicted a network of "money mules", who are used to launder proceeds from the bank transfers, in 2016.

"The United States Government will not tolerate this type of activity by another government or its proxies and will continue to hold all responsible parties accountable", the Treasury Department statement said.

At the press conference NCA director Rob Jones described how Yakubets led a "flamboyant", "extravagant" and lavish lifestyle in Russian Federation which was "cash rich with fast cars" and said to have been funded by stealing from victims.

Treasury officials said the USA action was coordinated not only with the U.K. but also with others targeted by the group, including Italy, Australia, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, France, India, Hong Kong and Malaysia. He also has ties to Russian intelligence services, an administration official said, although neither him nor Turashev are accused in charging documents of receiving backing or direction from the Russian government.

While taking down the infrastructure supporting Dridex in 2015, NCA also helped the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrest Andrey Ghinkul, one of the distributors of Dridex malware.

Seven entities, including Evil Corp and six Russian companies controlled by Yakubets partner Denis Gusev, were also placed on the sanctions blacklist.

Speaking to reporters at the Justice Department, Bowdich said the case stresses the need for all Americans to practice "good cyber hygiene", such as regularly updating online passwords, implementing two-factor authentication on sensitive accounts, and heightened awareness and suspicion regarding links sent over email.

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