The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that a Russian cybercriminal received a prison sentence of eight years for his role in a botnet conspiracy that resulted in estimated losses of more than $100 million.
The Russian cybercriminal identified as Aleksandr Brovko, formerly of the Czech Republic, was involved in the sophisticated scheme to steal and traffic sensitive personal and financial information in the online criminal underground also known as the darknet.
According to court documents, Brovko was an active member of several elite online forums designed for Russian-speaking cybercriminals to gather and exchange their criminal tools and services. For over ten years, from 2007 to 2019, he worked closely with other cybercriminals to monetize the massive data they stole using botnets, which they released and infected computers.
Brovko was responsible for writing software scripts to parse botnet logs and performed extensive manual searches of the data and obtained easily monetized information, such as personally identifiable information and online banking credentials.
He also verified the validity of stolen account credentials and assessed whether the stolen financial accounts had enough funds, which they can use for fraudulent transactions.
The Russian cybercriminal illegally held and trafficked more than 200,000 unauthorized access to devices during the course of the botnet conspiracy. In February, he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud.
Bringing cybercriminals to justice
In a statement, DOJ Criminal Division Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian Rabbitt said, “This prosecution and the sentence imposed show the department’s commitment to work with our international and state counterparts to bring cybercriminals to justice no matter where they are located.”
On the other hand, said U.S. Attorney G. Zachary Terwilliger for the Eastern District of Virginia said the convicted Russian cybercriminal “used his programming skills to facilitate the large-scale theft…” He added that his office is “committed to holding these criminals accountable and protecting our communities as cybercrime becomes an ever more prominent threat.”
“This investigation is a prime example of the Secret Service’s investigative mission; to protect the U.S. financial infrastructure by pursuing counterfeit and financial crimes investigations,” said Special Agent in Charge Matthew Miller of the Secret Service Washington Field Office.
In August, a malware author, Valerian Chiochiu, also known as “Onassis,” “Flagler,” “Socrate,” and “Eclesiastes,” pleaded guilty for his involvement in Infraud, a transnational cybercriminal organization that victimized millions of businesses and consumers across the United States.