pcloudy.png
Tuesday June 18th, 2019 9:25AM

Officials in US, Europe charge 10 in malware attacks

By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Ten people have been charged in connection with malicious software attacks that infected tens of thousands of computers and caused more than $100 million in financial losses, U.S. and European authorities announced Thursday.

The malware, which enabled cyber criminals from Eastern Europe to take remote control of infected computers and siphon funds from victims' bank accounts, targeted companies and institutions across all sectors of American life. Victims included a Washington law firm, a church in Texas, a furniture business in California and a casino in Mississippi.

The defendants come from six nations and several are awaiting prosecution in Europe. An 11th defendant in a related case was extradited to the U.S. from Bulgaria in 2016 and pleaded guilty last month in federal court in Pittsburgh, where Thursday's case was brought.

The charges include conspiracy to commit computer fraud, conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Though the Justice Department has pursued multiple malware prosecutions in recent years against foreign hackers, this case stands out as a model of international collaboration, said Scott Brady, the United States attorney in Pittsburgh.

Instead of seeking the immediate extradition of all 10 defendants — an often cumbersome process that can take years of negotiations, even in countries that have treaties with the U.S. — prosecutors will first bring charges against several of them in the East European countries of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia.

"It represents a paradigm change in how we prosecute cybercrime," Brady said in an interview with The Associated Press ahead of a news conference in The Hague with representatives of the six countries.

The investigation was an outgrowth of the Justice Department's dismantling in 2016 of a network of computer servers, known as Avalanche, which hosted more than two dozen different types of malware.

"For the past three years, we have been unpeeling an onion as it were that is very challenging to investigate and identify," Brady said.

The malware cited in the current court case infected 41,000 computers, relying on spam emails that were disguised as legitimate messages or invoices, officials said. Once opened, the emails enabled hackers operating from Europe to record the keystrokes from the victims' computers, steal banking log-in credentials and wire money away from accounts.

Brady said that while prosecutors always look to recover stolen funds, that effort is especially challenging in international cybercrime cases.

"Proceeds were converted to bitcoin and without the private key, it is really hard to identify and access, let alone seize, those accounts," Brady said.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Technology News
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Fire officials determine PG&E equipment sparked deadly fire
California lawmakers are expressing skepticism that Pacific Gas & Electric Corp. has made the dramatic changes necessary to prevent another deadly blaze
7:42AM ( 26 minutes ago )
Mother, newlyweds among 6 killed after Alaska planes crash
A newly married couple, a pilot who used family savings to buy his plane, a family man from Australia and a vivacious office manager at an insurance company were among the six victims in a deadly mid-air collision of two sightseeing planes in Alaska
7:24AM ( 44 minutes ago )
Missouri Senate joins GOP anti-abortion wave with 8-week ban
Missouri's Republican-led Senate has passed a wide-ranging bill to ban abortions at eight weeks of pregnancy, acting only hours after Alabama's governor signed a near-total abortion ban into law
7:17AM ( 51 minutes ago )
U.S. News
Iran claims right to respond to 'unacceptable' US sanctions
Iran's foreign minister says it has the right to respond to "unacceptable" sanctions imposed by the Trump administration after the U.S. withdrew from the landmark 2015 nuclear accord last year
7:53AM ( 15 minutes ago )
The Latest: Tiger back at Bethpage, ready to go
Tiger Woods, after a day off, back at Bethpage to begin opening round of PGA Championship
7:48AM ( 19 minutes ago )
DJ Khaled releasing collaboration with Nipsey Hussle
DJ Khaled is releasing a single with Nipsey Hussle that was filmed days before Hussle was shot to death in Los Angeles
7:26AM ( 42 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Huawei hit by US export controls, potential import ban
President Donald Trump has issued an executive order apparently aimed at banning Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei from U.S. networks
6:24AM ( 1 hour ago )
Author of flattering Trump biography gets pardon from Trump
President Donald Trump has granted a full pardon to Conrad Black, a former newspaper publisher who has written a flattering political biography of Trump
6:12AM ( 1 hour ago )
New Trump immigration plan would overhaul green card system
A new immigration proposal from President Donald Trump focuses on beefing up border security and rethinking the green card system
5:57AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Fire officials determine PG&E equipment sparked deadly fire
California lawmakers are expressing skepticism that Pacific Gas & Electric Corp. has made the dramatic changes necessary to prevent another deadly blaze
7:42AM ( 26 minutes ago )
Mother, newlyweds among 6 killed after Alaska planes crash
A newly married couple, a pilot who used family savings to buy his plane, a family man from Australia and a vivacious office manager at an insurance company were among the six victims in a deadly mid-air collision of two sightseeing planes in Alaska
7:24AM ( 44 minutes ago )
Missouri Senate joins GOP anti-abortion wave with 8-week ban
Missouri's Republican-led Senate has passed a wide-ranging bill to ban abortions at eight weeks of pregnancy, acting only hours after Alabama's governor signed a near-total abortion ban into law
7:17AM ( 51 minutes ago )
'Gift from God:' Alabama governor bans nearly all abortions
Alabama's Republican governor has signed a bill into law criminalizing abortion in nearly all cases, with no exceptions for rape or incest
6:43AM ( 1 hour ago )
Missouri Senate passes bill to ban abortions at 8 weeks
Missouri's Republican-led Senate has passed a bill to ban abortions at eight weeks of pregnancy
6:10AM ( 1 hour ago )