1. SOUNDBITE (English) Brian Benczkowski, Assistant Attorney General, Justice Department Criminal Division
"Maksim Yakubets of Moscow Russia has been indicted in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for his alleged role as the leader of a cyber criminal gang responsible for the distribution of a multifunction malware package known as "Bugat"."
2. SOUNDBITE (English) Brian Benczkowski, Assistant Attorney General, Justice Department Criminal Division
"A second co-conspirator, Igor Turashev, also was indicted in Pittsburgh in connection with the Bugat scheme. Yakubets has also been charged in a criminal complaint in Lincoln, Nebraska, for his participation in a scheme to disseminate "Zeus," a similar form of malware that was likewise used to empty out the financial accounts of its victims."
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Brian Benczkowski, Assistant Attorney General, Justice Department Criminal Division
"According to the complaint, the deployment of "Zeus" resulted in a total attempted theft of around 220 million dollars, with actual losses of an estimated 70 million dollars from victims bank accounts."
4. SOUNDBITE: (English) Scott Brady, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania
"Some of the victims in western Pennsylvania include a school district, two banking institutions. A number of businesses, including a petroleum business, a technology company, a manufacturing company and a building materials supply company."
5. SOUNDBITE: (English) Joseph Kelly, U.S. Attorney for the District of Nebraska
"The methodology was similar each time, infect the business computer obtain bank account numbers and security codes and initiate electronic fund transfers to money mules overseas."
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Brian Benczkowski, Assistant Attorney General, Justice Department Criminal Division
"Yakubets is a true 21st century criminal who, with the stroke of a key and the click of a mouse, committed cyber crimes across the globe. He's earned his place on the FBI list of the world's most wanted cyber criminals."
The Justice Department unsealed charges Thursday against two Russian men in what authorities say was one of the worst computer hacking and bank fraud schemes of the past decade.
Maksim V. Yakubets, 32, of Moscow and Igor Turashev, 38, from Yoshkar-Ola, Russia were charged in the 10-count indictment filed in federal court in Pittsburgh. The charges include conspiracy, computer hacking, wire fraud, and bank fraud.
The two men have not been arrested and their whereabouts are unknown.
Prosecutors say the charges stem from the creation of malware known as “Bugat,” which was designed to automate the theft of confidential personal and financial information, including online banking logins, from infected computers. The malware, they say, was specifically designed to defeat antivirus software.
Yakubets, who used the online moniker “aqua,” and Turashev are accused of targeting two banks, a school district and four companies in Pennsylvania — a petroleum business, building supply company, vacuum and thin film deposition technology company and metal manufacturer — as well as a gun manufacturer.
The attacks caused the theft of millions of dollars, prosecutors said.
The malware allowed hackers to hijack a victim’s computer, present fake online banking webpages and trick the user into entering their personal information, investigators said.
Yakubets is also being charged in a separate case in Nebraska with allegedly conspiring to commit bank fraud in connection with other malware, authorities said.
Prosecutors allege that he worked with multiple co-conspirators to commit widespread computer intrusions, employ malicious software, and steal millions of dollars from numerous bank accounts in the United States and around the globe.
The State Department and the FBI are offering a $5 million reward for information leading to Yakubets' arrest and conviction, which officials say is the largest reward ever offered for an accused cybercriminal.
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U.S. Department of Justice, United States government
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