Russian programmer behind the Citadel Trojan, which is used for bank-account-raiding, pleaded guilty.
The hacker is Mark Vartanyan, also known by the name “Kolypto,” was arrested in Norway last year and extradited to the America a month later. He is charged with a computer fraud, for which he pleaded guilty. In exchange for admitting, Vartanyan can get up to 10 years in jail and a $250,000 fine, down from a 25 years behind bars. He will find out his sentence only in June.
“We must continue to impose the real costs on criminals who believe they are protected by the geographic boundaries and can prey on American people and institutions with this impunity,” said the FBI special agent David LeValley. “It demonstrates that the FBI’s long-term commitment to identifying and pursuing cyber criminals worldwide, and serves as a very strong deterrent to others who are targeting America’s financial institutions and citizens using malicious software.”
If you don’t remember about the Citadel issue, that’s is understandable as the event apeared back in 2011. It has infected Windows PCs, silently picking up the victims’ online banking credentials and later allows the criminals to get their hands on cash. The Citadel could also spy on computers and hold files for ransom, which sets down a trend that’s now became a phenomenon.
According to the US prosecutors, at its height, this malware infected 11 million computers and is responsible for theft of over $500 million from bank accounts.
“Between on or about August 21, 2012, and January 9, 2013, while residing in Ukraine, and again between on or about April 9, 2014, and June 2, 2014, while residing in Norway, Vartanyan allegedly engaged in the development, improvement, maintenance and distribution of Citadel.” reads a case file.
Nowadays, there are some versions of the malware still circulating. At its base, Citadel is a variant of the famous ZeuS banking trojan.