Recently, we renewed our countdown of the FBI’s 10 most wanted black-hat hackers. First up was Bezhad Mesri at number 10. He is accused of having compromised Home Box Office (HBO) employees’ emails and abused that access to steal data, extort the company for ransom, and leak the information online when he didn’t get his way.
This week, we present No. 9 and No. 8: Viet Quoc Nguyen and nine individuals collectively known as the “JabberZeus” suspects.
#9 – Viet Quoc Nguyen
Beginning around February 2009, Viet Quoc Nguyen a/k/a “Vandehiu” a/k/a “Peter Nguyen” partnered with Giang Hoang Vu a/k/a “Lee Vu” and others to defraud at least eight different email service providers (ESPs) and to send spam mail to numerous individual recipients.
Nguyen and Vu’s malicious scheme began when they acquired crypters, covert monitoring tools, and malware. The two black-hat hackers then launched phishing email attacks against some of their targeted ESPs. Those campaigns delivered malware, thereby allowing Nguyen and Vu to access victimized employees’ computers in order to steal credentials for their employer’s systems.
The stolen information laid the foundation for Nguyen and Vu to access the ESPs’ systems and steal confidential information including tens of millions of customers’ email addresses. In other cases, they abused that access to launch phishing attacks against other ESPs’ employees in order to infiltrate those companies’ systems. Sometimes they even leveraged the email addresses they stole to conduct spam mail campaigns leading to Nguyen’s affiliate-marketing websites.
For his alleged crimes, a federal grand jury charged Nguyen with 29 counts including wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and other offenses. It wasn’t long after that the United States District Court in the Northern District of Georgia in Atlanta, Georgia issued a federal warrant for his arrest on 3 October 2012.
Nguyen is known to have resided in Deventer, Netherlands and Hanoi, Vietnam around the time that he is believed to have committed the crimes.
#8 – The JabberZeus Suspects
In 2012, the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska indicted nine individuals for having infected thousands of computers with the Zeus banking Trojan, malware which they used to steal millions of dollars from victims’ bank accounts.
The charges against them include conspiracy to participate in a racketeering activity, conspiracy to commit computer fraud and identity theft, aggravated identity theft, and multiple counts of bank fraud.
Those named in the indictment include the following:
- Vyacheslav Igorevich Penchukov, 32, of Ukraine, aka “tank” or father”
- Ivan Viktorvich Klepikov, 30, of Ukraine, aka “petr0vich” or “nowhere”
- Alexey Dmitrievich Bron, 26, of Ukraine, aka “thehead”
- Alexey Tikonov, of Russia, aka “kusanagi”
- Yevhen Kulibab, aka “jonni”
- Yuriy Konovalenko, aka “jtk0”
- John Doe #1, aka “lucky12345”
- John Doe #2, aka “aqua”
- John Doe #3, aka “mricq”
Together, this cybercrime ring unlawfully installed the Zeus banking Trojan on victims’ computers, allowing them to steal usernames, passwords, and other information necessary for them to gain access to their victims’ banking accounts.
By claiming they were employees of the victims and were authorized to manage their funds on their behalf, the JabberZeus suspects tricked a number of organizations, including a bank and a company based in Nebraska, into wiring more than $70 million to “money mules” based in the United States. These persons then forwarded some of the funds to the conspirators.
In total, the JabberZeus suspects are believed to have successfully stolen or attempted to steal upwards of $220 million.
While a number of individuals have been found, tried, and convicted, the scheme’s four masterminds—Penchukov, Klepikov, Bron and Tikonov—remain at large.
You can read about some other black-hat hackers wanted by the FBI below:
- The FBI’s 10 Most-Wanted Black-Hat Hackers – #10
- The FBI’s 10 Most-Wanted Black-Hat Hackers – #9 and #8
- The FBI’s 10 Most-Wanted Black-Hat Hackers – #7 and #6
- The FBI’s 10 Most-Wanted Black-Hat Hackers – #5, #4 and #3
- The FBI’s 10 Most-Wanted Black-Hat Hackers – #2
- The FBI’s 10 Most-Wanted Black-Hat Hackers – #1