Multi-million dollar cyber crime network busted, Russian malware discovered

The locations of alleged Goz Nym cybercrime group members. Source DOJ

The locations of alleged Goz Nym cybercrime group members. Source DOJ

Vladimir Gorin, a.k.a "Voland", "mrv", and "riddler", of Orenburg, Russia allegedly was a malware developer who oversaw the creation, development, management, and leasing of GozNym.

To ward off detection, distribute the malware, take over bank accounts and cash out, there were "bulletproof hosters, money mules networks, crypters, spammers, coders, organizers, and technical support", said Europol, the European Union's law enforcement agency.

Carter says there are enough people and businesses in the world not following basic cybersecurity practices that a criminal can use unsophisticated tools to make money by hitting many targets quickly.

With GozNym, victims received phishing emails that looked legitimate but contained a malicious link or attachment that led the malware to be downloaded on their computers.

The primary victims were U.S. businesses and their supporting financial institutions, including several victims in the Western District of Pennsylvania, U.S. officials said.

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The indictment said the suspects infected victims' computers with the GozNym malware, which was meant to copy online banking credentials and gain access to those accounts.

Among the victims were small businesses, law firms, global corporations and non-profit organisations.

The charges in the indictment include conspiracy to commit computer fraud, conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Gang members in four countries have been charged - a coup for cyber-crime fighters who say the discovery of this sophisticated scam demonstrates the borderless nature of cyber-crime and need for cross border co-operation to detect and disrupt these networks.

Five Russians accused of being involved in the scheme reside in Russia as "fugitives from justice", according to the Department of Justice.

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We're told the alleged ringleader Alexander Konovolov, 35, of Tbilisi, Georgia, and his alleged technical assistant Marat Kazandjian, 31, of Kazakhstan and Tbilisi, Georgia, have been arrested and charged in that nation in connection with the banking malware, and are being prosecuted there. The FBI asked the public to help locate them Thursday.

The Europol statement said criminal prosecutions from the operations have also started in Bulgaria, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

The indictment, unsealed Thursday, was announced by Scott Brady, the U.S. Attorney for Western Pennsylvania, in the Netherlands. Since then, searches were also conducted in Bulgaria, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

He allegedly fired an assault rifle through the door of his apartment at police, the Department of Justice said.

U.S. attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Scott Brady stood alongside prosecutors and cyber-crime fighters from five other nations inside Europol's high security headquarters, to announce the takedown of what he described as a "global conspiracy".

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