Financial News

  • 3 June 2014, 17:01

FBI Chases 'Ringleader' Behind Cyber Threat

The alleged mastermind of the major cyber threat facing all computer users goes by the online moniker "lucky12345".

And Evgeniy Mikhailovich Bogachev will need all the luck he can find to evade justice - because he currently sits at the top of the FBI's cyber-crime most wanted list.

The 30-year-old Russian is said to be the leader of the gang accused of stealing more than $100m (£60m) by installing viruses on hundreds of thousands of computers around the world.

US authorities say the group - whose members come from Russia, Ukraine and Britain - infected computers with software that captured passwords and account numbers, allowing them to steal from their victims.

The racketeering enterprise has been installing the malicious software, such as GOZeuS and CryptoLocker, on computers since 2009.

The botnet used to carry out the attacks has been temporarily disrupted, and computer users have been warned they have just two weeks to improve their online security.

The clock is ticking for computer users around the world, but also for Bogachev, who is thought to be in a location somewhere in Russia or around the Black Sea.

He is a keen boater and is known to sail around the Black Sea, bordered by countries including Bulgaria, Turkey and Georgia.

He was last known to reside in Anapa, Russia, and also owns property elsewhere in the country in Krasnodar.

Bogachev, who also uses the online handles "slavik" and "Pollingsoon", is described as 5'9 (175cm) and weighs around 180lbs (81kg). He has brown hair but in most photographs he has a shaved head.

†Bogachev is "a true 21st century criminal, who committed cyber crimes across the globe with a stroke of a key and the click of a mouse," said James Cole, US deputy attorney general.

Criminal and civil allegations were filed in Pittsburgh against Bogachev because some of the victims were from western Pennsylvania.

The charges included conspiracy, wire, bank and computer fraud, and money laundering.

The victims of the different schemes include an American Indian tribe in Washington state; an insurance company and a company that runs assisted-living centres in Pennsylvania; a local police department in Massachusetts; a pest control company in North Carolina; and a restaurant operator in Florida.

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