FBI Offers $3 Million Reward For Russian Hacker

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The FBI is hunting a hacker who stands accused of being involved in cyberattacks which led to the theft of tens of millions of dollars.

Evgeniy Mikhailovich Bogachev allegedly ran a network of hackers responsible for the development of malware known as Gameover Zeus and Cryptolocker. Zeus is a trojan horse program which is thought to have infected around 1 million computers around the world, according to Circa.

FBI offers record-breaking reward

The FBI and the State Department issued a “Wanted” poster on February 24, as well as offering a $3 million reward for information leading to his arrest and/or conviction. The reward is the highest that U.S. authorities have ever offered for a suspected cyber crime.

The Gameover Zeus malware was first noticed in 2007, and was used to control infected computers, using them to distribute spam emails, undertake Distributed Denial of Service attacks and access personal information. Zeus is used to distribute Cryptolocker, which security experts first noticed in 2013.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney General Leslie Caldwell, “These schemes were highly sophisticated and immensely lucrative, and the cybercriminals did not make them easy to reach or disrupt.”

The network of hackers headed by Bogachev received over $27 million in ransom payments related to Cryptolocker in just 2 months. The Gameover Zeus malware allegedly stole over $100 million from online bank accounts.

Potential international cooperation

Bogachev faces various charges from federal authorities, including conspiracy, computer hacking, wire fraud, bank fraud and money laundering due to his alleged role as the head of the network responsible for the cyberattacks.

In the interest of cracking down on cybercrime there have been tentative moves to initiate greater cooperation between the FBI and authorities of different countries.

Joseph Demarest, head of the FBI’s cyber crime division, said that the FSB, Russia’s internal security agency, was considering working with U.S. authorities to investigate cybercrimes, although he did not make any explicit link to the Bogachev case.

China would be another valuable partner in the FBI’s fight against international cybercrime, but has so far not expressed any interest in cooperating with U.S. authorities. Last year five Chinese military officers were indicted for allegedly hacking into nuclear power, metals and solar industries in the U.S..

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