Three men involved in creating and distributing the “Gozi” virus that infected over one million computers worldwide have been officially charged today. The group’s hack allowed them to steal millions of dollars from users over a five-year period, stealing passwords and various banking information, like credit card numbers and bank account information.
The virus was first discovered by US cyber security experts back in 2007, and it’s described as “one of the most financially destructive computer viruses in history.” but the operation actually continued well into 2012. The mastermind behind Gozi, Nikita Kuzmin, was arrested in the US in November 2010 and pled guilty to computer intrusion and fraud charges in May 2011.
As for the two other co-conspirators, Deniss Calovskis and Mihai Ionut Paunescu, Calovskis was arrested in Latvia in November 2012 and Paunescu was arrested in Romania last month. Extradition proceedings for both of them are ongoing as we speak, and they face up to 67 and 60 years in prison, respectively, while Kuzmin faces up to 95 years in the clink.
The Gozivirus infected around 40,000 computers in the US, with 160 of them belonging to NASA, according to court documents. When the virus was discovered in 2007, cyber security expert Don Jackson went undercover in Russian chat rooms to try and obtain a version of the virus for testing purposes. He actually ended up getting several offers for a few thousand dollars each, but ended up severing communication before a deal was made.
[via ABC News]
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