September 12, 2018 / 8:32 PM / 11 days ago

Russian pleads guilty in U.S. to operating Kelihos botnet

(Reuters) - A Russian man pleaded guilty on Wednesday in U.S. federal court in Connecticut to criminal hacking charges stemming from his operation of the Kelihos botnet, the U.S. Justice Department said in a statement.

Peter Yuryevich Levashov, 38, used the Kelihos botnet - a global network of tens of thousands of infected computers - to harvest login credentials, distribute bulk spam emails, and install ransomware and other malicious software, the department said.

He pleaded guilty to one count each of causing intentional damage to a protected computer, conspiracy, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, the department said.

Levashov was arrested in Spain in April 2017 and the Justice Department announced in February that he had been extradited to the United States.

He is due to be sentenced on Sept. 6, 2019.

Reporting by Eric Beech in Washington; Editing by Mohammad Zargham and Phil Berlowitz

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