The FBI has called the Russians involved in a major criminal cyber grouping

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Europol announced the exposure of the criminal gang, stole about $ 100 million from companies in Europe and the USA. Among the suspects were five Russian citizens who, according to investigators, are on the run.

The United States and its European partners managed to neutralize the cyber grouping that used the GozNym virus to steal about $ 100 million from more than 41 thousand organizations and individuals in the States and European countries. This is reported in a press release from Europol. The so-called GozNym grouping gathered participants in underground Russian-language Internet forums, the document says. As the investigation suggests, at least 10 citizens from several countries, including Georgia, Russia, Moldova and Ukraine, are involved in the crimes. The leader of the group, which carried out its activity from Tbilisi, is now in Georgia and there it is charged.

The Georgian Prosecutor General’s Office detained not only the leader of the group, known by the nickname None, but also its chief assistant named Phantom, the ministry said.

During the investigation, charges were also brought against five Russians who are on the run, according to Europol. Among the suspects - the alleged creator of the GozNym virus from Orenburg, as well as possible participants of the schemes for laundering money stolen by hackers, the press release says. One of the Russians acted from Moscow, sending spam containing the GozNym virus.

During the press conference on the results of the investigation held on May 16 in The Hague, FBI special agent Robert Allen Jones called the names of the suspected Russians. They turned out to be Viktor Vladimirovich Eremenko, Vladimir Gorin, Farhad Rauf Ogly Manokhin, Konstantin Volchkov and Ruslan Vladimirovich Katirkin. Jones indicated that suspects are currently in Russia. Names, online pseudonyms and photographs of alleged hackers are published on the FBI website. The District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania issued a warrant for their arrest in the United States. “We began this investigation [...] and tirelessly pursued criminals in Eastern Europe,” said Jones.

According to the prosecution, cybercriminals committed the following unlawful acts:
  • infecting the computers of victims with GozNym virus in order to access data from their online bank accounts,
  • withdrawing funds from these accounts and laundering money through their bank accounts in the USA and other countries.

How the investigation was conducted The investigation

into the hackers began in 2016 after the German-initiated operation against the hacker group Avalanche, which is headquartered in Ukraine. This group supported more than 200 hackers, including those who spread the GozNym virus.

After the defeat of Avalanche, law enforcement agencies in the United States and European countries stepped up investigations against the hackers who used GozNym, one of the most dangerous groups associated with Avalanche. Law enforcement agencies from the USA, Germany, Bulgaria, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, with the support of Europol, participated in the capture of cybercriminals.

Prosecutor Scott Brady called the efforts of law enforcement agencies unprecedented and thanked the European countries who had helped in the investigation. As Brady pointed out during the press conference, the proceedings against GozNym were initiated in four countries. “This [coordination between countries during an investigation] is a model of how we should fight against cybercrime,” he said.
 
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