Update on Feb. 25, 2015: BBC reported the United States is now offering a $3 million reward for information leading to the arrest or conviction of Evgeniy Bogachev—the highest the US authorities have ever offered in a cybercrime case. The US Department said, “This reward offer reaffirms the commitment of the US government to bring those who participate in organized crime to justice, whether they hide online or overseas.”
Our countdown of the FBI’s most wanted cyber criminals is nearly over with only two hackers remaining. These individuals are the baddest of the bad – miscreants of cyberspace who give new meaning to the term “cybercrime,” threatening the security of the web and all of its users.
The second most wanted hacker by the FBI is Evgeniy Mikhailovich Bogachev, the leader of a cybercrime ring responsible for writing and promulgating Gameover Zeus.
On August 22, 2012, Bogachev was indicted under the nickname “lucky12345” by a federal grand jury in Nebraska on several charges, including conspiracy to commit bank fraud, computer fraud and identity theft.
He was later indicted again on May 19, 2014, where a United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania charged him with computer fraud, bank fraud, money laundering, and wire fraud, among other charges.
Finally, a third indictment only a week or two thereafter linked Bogachev to his nickname “lucky12345” and charged him with additional counts of conspiracy to commit bank fraud.
According to his May 19 indictment, Bogachev and his co-conspirators based in the UK, Russia and Ukraine began sending out phishing emails in the fall of 2011. When users clicked on these malicious links, they unknowingly downloaded Gameover Zeus – a form of malware which uses web injection and keystroke logging to steal users’ banking credentials.
Gameover Zeus is younger than other variants of the Zeus software, some of which began to appear as early as 2007. To date, the GameOver strain has infected more than one million users.
At the same time, Bogachev also used Gameover Zeus as a means to distribute Cryptolocker – a form of ransomware that takes over computers, encrypts all stored files and demands a ransom in order to decrypt the documents and return them to the user.
As a result of this two-pronged attack combining Gameover Zeus and Cryptolocker, Bogachev ultimately succeeded in stealing $100 million, which included tens of millions of dollars transferred to overseas bank accounts via illegal wire transfers.
Bogachev’s 2014 indictments followed on the heels of Operation Tovar, a multinational effort led by Europol, the FBI and a number of prominent information security companies to take down Gameover Zeus earlier this year.
Despite these efforts by the international community, the author of Gameover Zeus remains at large.
Bogachev’s last known place of residence was in Anapa, Russia. He also owns property in Krasnodar, Russia and travels to different locations along the coast of the Black Sea.
- The Ten Most Wanted Hackers by The FBI – No. 5, No. 4 and No. 3
- The Ten Most Wanted Hackers by The FBI – No. 7 and No. 6
- The Ten Most Wanted Hackers by The FBI – No. 9 and No. 8
- The Ten Most Wanted Hackers by The FBI – No. 10
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