MOSCOW (Reuters) - U.S. action against suspected Russian cyber criminals has surged to a record high this year despite efforts by President Donald Trump to improve ties with Moscow.
The United States has arrested or indicted seven Russians on U.S. cyber crime charges in 2017. On average, just two Russian cyber criminals were extradited to the United States each year between 2010 and the start of this year.
Below is a breakdown of the arrests and indictments so far this year:
Arrested in Spain on Jan. 13, aged 32.
Lisov, also known by hacker names “Black” and “Blackf”, according to court documents, is accused of creating the “NeverQuest” banking trojan which targeted customers of financial institutions around the world and caused millions of dollars of damage.
A Spanish court agreed to extradite Lisov to the United States in early August, where he faces up to 35 years in prison. Lisov’s lawyer opposed the extradition, arguing that the allegations and evidence against him were too vague, that the United States did not have jurisdiction over any of the alleged crimes.
Indicted on March 15, aged 43.
One of two officers from Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) charged by the United States in March with masterminding the 2014 theft of up to 500 million Yahoo accounts, the first time the U.S. government criminally charged Russian spies for cyber offences. Reuters was unable to reach Sushchin for comment.
Indicted on March 15, aged 33.
The second FSB officer indicted in the Yahoo hack and Sushchin’s subordinate. Allegedly a former hacker who stole and sold credit card details under the online alias “Forb”, Dokuchayev was one of four men detained on mysterious treason charges by Russian authorities in late 2016. He is currently being held in Moscow. Reuters was unable to reach Dokuchayev for comment.
Indicted on March 15, aged 29.
One of two hackers accused of working with Sushchin and Dokuchayev to break into Yahoo email servers and steal data from up to 500 million user accounts. Belan has spent years on the FBI’s most-wanted list for crimes. He was arrested in Europe in June 2013 but escaped to Russia before he could be extradited to the United States. Reuters was unable to reach Belan for comment.
Arrested in Spain on April 7, aged 36.
A spammer accused by U.S. prosecutors of operating a botnet, or network, of tens of thousands of infected computers used by cyber criminals to pump out spam emails. Levashov has been accused of using the botnet for a multitude of criminal schemes, such as stock fraud, online credential phishing attempts and the distribution of malware, including ransomware. He is being held in Spain awaiting extradition to the United States, where he faces up to 52 years in jail. He denies the charges against him.
Arrested in Latvia on April 26, aged 35
Accused of helping run a service that let cyber criminals test-drive malware before attacking victims. His extradition to the United States was denounced by the Russian government as “another case of kidnapping of a Russian citizen by the US authorities.” Martyshev denies the charges against him, according to Russian media reports.
Arrested in Greece on July 25, aged 37
Vinnik is accused of laundering at least $4 billion in criminal funds through the BTC-e crytpo-currency exchange since 2011. This is alleged to be part of a scheme to facilitate crimes including computer hacking, fraud and drug trafficking.
U.S. authorities also linked him to the failure of Mt. Gox, a Japan-based bitcoin exchange that collapsed in 2014 after being hacked.
He is being held in Greece awaiting extradition to the United States, where he faces up to 55 years in jail. He denies the charges against him, according to Greek media reports.
Reporting by Jack Stubbs in Moscow and Erich Auchard in Frankfurt, Editing by Timothy Heritage