Feeds

Feds indict nine for making millions from Zeus malware

But cops only have two of them in custody

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

The FBI and the US Department of Justice have unsealed charges against nine people accused of racketeering, computer fraud, aggravated identity theft, and multiple counts of bank fraud related to their use of the Zeus malware against victims in the state of Nebraska.

"The 'Zeus' malware is one of the most damaging pieces of financial malware that has ever been used," said Acting Assistant Attorney General David O'Neil. "With the invaluable cooperation of our foreign law enforcement partners, we will continue to bring to justice cyber criminals who steal the money of US citizens."

That support is going to be very valuable, if the accused are going to have their day in court. While the US authorities have two suspects in detention, seven remain at large: three Ukrainians, a Russian national, and three others who have not been positively identified.

The two named ringleaders of the Zeus botnet, Ukrainians Yuriy Konovalenko and Yevhen Kulibaba, are already in custody, thanks to the efforts of British police. In 2011 they were jailed for four years and eight months apiece after getting nabbed by the UK's boys in blue, and have now been extradited to the US for additional charges.

According to the indictment, the two along with their seven accomplices used Zeus to infect targets in Nebraska and withdraw money from online bank accounts in the state. The government said it was asking for a forfeiture order of $70m against those indicted so that it can reclaim any money found.

The charges lean heavily on data collected by the British police, and say that funds purloined in the US were then sent to the UK and laundered through a variety of money mules. These are people who either knowingly or unknowingly agreed to transfer the funds through their own bank accounts and forward them on to the accused, while taking a small percentage as a commission.

"This case illustrates the vigorous cooperation between national and global law enforcement agencies and sends a strong message to cyber thieves," said FBI special agent in charge Thomas Metz. "The FBI and our international partners will continue to devote resources to finding better ways to safeguard our systems, fortify our cyber defenses, and stop those who do us harm."

While the police have named some of the suspects they are still searching for, it seems unlikely that they are going to be caught anytime soon. Many are known only by online handles, and unless they get as sloppy on security as their victims, they look likely to remain at large. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Lords take revenge on REVENGE PORN publishers
Jilted Johns and Jennies with busy fingers face two years inside
Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook
New iPhone biz baron points to Apple's (his) greatest successes
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.