The People Behind SpyEye Malware Brought to Justice
Zeus malware has been well-documented in the past. It got a lot of attention in the media because of its threats. It helped hackers get personal information out of people’s computers and bank accounts without much of a hassle. Soon after the threats were made public, FBI got involved and started to hunt down the main man behind this malware, Evginy Bogachev (aka Slavik). This forced him to go underground and he hasn’t surfaced since. Although FBI wasn’t able to get their guy, but thankfully, this stopped all the mayhem that was being caused by that particular malware. Everything seemed like it’d be fine in cybercrimes unit, but the calm didn’t last long. Slavik gave the source code of Zeus malware to another hacker named Hamza Bendelladj (aka Bx1) who then used a lot of its components to create another nuisance called SpyEye.
SpyEye was the next huge cyber threat for the people around the world as it had the ability to conduct some serious crimes. However, Bx1 didn’t want to fly solo, which is why he partnered up with Aleksandr Andreevich Panin (aka Gribodemon/Harderman), and both of them started to wreak havoc using the new digital weapon. They attacked multiple security firms, hacked into multiple accounts, got personal information from multiple computers, and did a whole of other damage. They infected over 50 million devices worldwide and were responsible for over $1 billion in losses. FBI started hunting for these individuals as well, and this time luck was on their side as they managed to find them real fast.
Lawsuit and Verdict
Initially, it seemed like that both of them would get away with what they’ve done, but that didn’t happen. All of their crimes were proven in court, hence they got the verdict of guilty. Judge took into account all the damage they had caused and sentenced both of these individuals for combined 24 years in prison. US attorney John Horn was pretty happy with the result and had to say this at the end:
“It is difficult to overstate the significance of this case, not only in terms of bringing two prolific computer hackers to justice, but also in disrupting and preventing immeasurable financial losses to individuals and the financial industry around the world.”
FBI Atlanta’s special agent J. Britt Johnson hopes that this sentencing will help reduce cybercrime rate that has been increasing by quite some margin during the past few years.
“Through these arrests and sentencing, the risk the public unknowingly faced from the threat posed by the imminent release of a new highly sophisticated version of SpyEye was effectively reduced to zero.”
Zeus and SpyEye malware gave a lot of confidence to other hackers because the people that created both of them committed numerous crimes and got away with all of them. However, now that we have seen two main hackers put behind bars, the rate of cyberattacks is more than likely to take a dive. As far as Slavik, the man who started it all with Zeus, is concerned, he’s #1 on the cybercrimes most wanted list. FBI has assured that the hunt for him will continue and that he will be brought to justice sooner rather than later.