On Thursday, the US Federal prosecutors pressed charges against two alleged Russian hackers who were charged for scamming around $70 million from various victims’ bank accounts, those in the USA as well as abroad.
Maksim Yakubets who is 32 and popularly called online as “Aqua,” along with Igor Turashev who is 38 and is being called “Enki,” within the online community are the two accused who intentionally diverted cash from thousands of accounts to their own accounts. These accused have been few of the most prolific cybercriminals existing around the world as described by the federal authorities. These accused were involved in hijacking personal financial data and then transferring the cash to their own accounts.
Those who were scammed included large banks, schools, municipalities, an Ohio dairy and an order of Catholic nuns based in Chicago.
According to the claim made by Brian Benczkowski, the assistant attorney general cleared that the operation was a thoughtful plan of a decade that used most destructible financial malware ever used.
Yakubets and Turashev are still to be tracked down and are believed to be hiding in Russia. To track these accused down, the State Department along with the FBI has announced a reward of $5 million and would be rewarded to the one who would inform the authorities about the whereabouts of Yakubet. This guy is the mind behind the global conspiracy named “Evil Corp.”
The accused used the tainted software called it “Bugat,”. The operation was made possible through infecting computer systems with programs intended for automating the stealing of confidential information, either personal or financial. The information included online banking passwords which were then used for rerouting the wire transfers to the intended accounts.
Scott Brady, Pittsburgh U.S. Attorney claimed “For over a decade, Maksim Yakubets and Igor Turashev led one of the most sophisticated transnational cybercrime syndicates in the world. These cybercriminals targeted individuals in western Pennsylvania and across the globe.”
As per the indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh, the pair have been charged for conspiracy to commit fraud, computer hacking, wire fraud, and bank fraud.
Joseph Kelly, the Nebraska U.S. Attorney mentioned the scheme, “one of the most outrageous cybercrimes in history.”
The investigation has also mentioned the uncover evidence which was a result of continuing operation as closely as May.
The Treasury Department has made remarks too. It claimed that Yakubets has provided “direct assistance to the Russian government’s malicious cyber efforts.”
The department also included in their statement that this was not the first time a hacker was tied to the Russian government.
Further exclaiming, “The United States Government will not tolerate this type of activity by another government or its proxies and will continue to hold all responsible parties accountable”.
According to the statement made by Bowdich, it is going to be very difficult to arrest and prosecute the accused because they have taken shelter in Russia. On a positive side, he also added that the identification and accusing of these suspects would alarm others from not making the same mistake to a certain extent.