Russian national extradited to US to face cybercrime charges


A Russian national was extradited to the United States and appeared in a federal court Thursday in Ohio for his alleged role in a transnational cybercriminal organization.

Vladimir Dunaev, 38, is accused of being a malware developer for a group responsible for a trojan banking program and ransomware called “Trickbot,” according to the Justice Department.

“The Trickbot malware was designed to steal the personal and financial information of millions of people around the world, thereby causing extensive financial harm and inflicting significant damage to critical infrastructure within the United States and abroad,” acting U.S. Attorney Bridget Brennan of the Northern District of Ohio said in a DOJ press release. “Today’s announcement underscores the great lengths federal law enforcement officials and our international partners will go to hold these alleged cybercriminals accountable for their actions.”

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The purpose of the malware was to capture login credentials for online banking and other personal information, claim court documents. This includes obtaining credit card numbers, emails, passwords, dates of birth, social security numbers, and addresses from computers infected with the virus through the use of web injects and keystroke logging.

Dunaev stole money, damaged computer systems, and stole confidential information from individuals, financial institutions, school districts, utility companies, government entities, and private businesses, according to court documents. He allegedly did so between November 2015 and August 2020. The organization has affected millions of people worldwide.

One other person has been arrested and arraigned as part of the Trickbot organization. Alla Witte from Latvia faced 19 charges in June, including conspiracy to commit computer fraud and aggravated identity theft, the DOJ announced. She pleaded “not guilty.”

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Dunaev has been charged with conspiracy to commit computer fraud and aggravated identity theft, conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. He also faces multiple counts of wire fraud, bank fraud, and aggravated identity theft. If Dunaev is convicted, he faces a maximum of 60 years in federal prison. He has pleaded “not guilty” to all charges.

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