U.S. and British authorities on Thursday took aim at a Russia-based cybercriminal group known as Evil Corp, indicting two of its leaders and ordering asset freezes against 17 of its associates over a digital crime spree that has allegedly netted them more than $100 million from companies across the world.
U.S. Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski: (SOUNDBITE)(English) U.S. ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL, BRIAN BENCZKOWSKI, SAYING: “We’re here today to identify and announce charges against a Russian national whom the Department of Justice alleges is responsible for two of the worst computer hacking and bank fraud schemes of the past decade.” That Russian National is Maksim Yakubets.
He’s believed to be the leader of the scheme, that prosecutors say involved hacking into business computers, obtaining the bank account numbers and security codes of account holders, and then using third parties to transfer money from the bank accounts to hackers.
Targets of the attack included a school, an oil firm, and a bank, among others.
According to U.S. Treasury officials, Yakubets also worked on the side for Russia's domestic intelligence agency and stole classified material on Moscow’s behalf.
(SOUNDBITE)(English) U.S. ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL, BRIAN BENCZKOWSKI, SAYING: “Yakubets is a true 21st century criminal, who with the stroke of a key and a click of a mouse, committed cyber crimes across the globe.
He’s earned his place on the FBI’s list of the world’s most wanted cyber criminals.” Yakubets’ close associate Igor Turashev was also charged.
A reward of up to five million dollars was announced, Thursday, for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of Yakubets.