US indicts hackers with alleged Russian intelligence ties
The US Justice Department unveiled indictments Thursday of two Russians with ties to their country’s intelligence services, who ran a major global cybertheft operation under the name Evil Corp.
An indictment unsealed in Pittsburgh named Maksim Yakubets and Ogor Turashev as the main figures in a group which inserted malware on computers in dozens of countries to steal more than $100 million from companies and local authorities.
The US Treasury, which announced sanctions in the case, said Yakubets specifically worked for the FSB intelligence agency “as of 2017” and was “tasked to work on projects for the Russian state.”
The Evil Corp used phishing schemes to insert Dridex, Bugat and other malware files on a victim’s computer.
The malware was used to obtain identities, passwords, and ultimately access to bank accounts, from which the attackers would transfer money to their own accounts or to money launderers.
Officials called it an evolving, innovative and audacious operation that stayed ahead of investigators to steal money from US targets including a religious order of sisters, a district school board, an oil company and a gun manufacturer.
They said that more than 300 organizations in 43 countries have been hit by the malware, and many more individuals, and that the group continued to operate.
Both of those charged remain at large, and the US State Department announced a $5 million reward toward the arrest and conviction of Yakubets.
“Maksim Yakubets allegedly has engaged in a decade-long cybercrime spree that deployed two of the most damaging pieces of financial malware ever used and resulted in tens of millions of dollars of losses to victims worldwide,” said US Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski.