Most wanted hacker in the world maintained as an asset by Russia 13 03 2017 Mundo Folha de S.Paulo

Most wanted hacker in the world maintained as an asset by Russia 13 03 2017 Mundo Folha de S.Paulo

For the FBI, Evgeniy M. Bogachev is the most wanted cybercriminal in the world. Bir announced a $ 3 million reward for his capture, the largest ever offered by one involved in computer crimes, and has been looking to track his movements in hopes of arresting him if he leaves his country, R russia.

Bogachev has already been indicted in the United States, accused of creating a large network of virus-infected computers to divert hundreds of millions of dollars from bank accounts around the world, attacking from a pest control company in Carolina from the North to a police department in Massachusetts, passing an American Indian tribe in Washington State.

Last December, after American intelligence agencies concluded what Russia sought to influence in the presidential election, the Obama administration announced sanctions against Bogachev and five other people.

The authorities said publicly that Bogachev was included in the list of targets for sanctions due to his criminal activities, and not to any specific role he played in the invasion of the computers of the Democratic National Committee.

But it is clear that for Russia he is more than just a criminal. At one point Bogachev even managed to control up to 1 million computers in many countries, with possible access to everything from family photos and schoolwork to business proposals and highly confidential personal information.

it is almost certain that among the infected devices there were computers belonging to members of the government and companies that provide services to the governments of several countries.

For the Russian intelligence community, eternally obsessed with surveillance, Bogachev's exploits may have created an irresistible opportunity to practice espionage.

It seems that while Bogachev was emptying bank accounts, Russian authorities were hitchhiking in their activities and scouring the same computers for files and emails.

In practice, they were grafting an intelligence operation into a broad criminal operation, saving the hard work of invading the computers in question themselves.

Bogachev's 33-year-old involvement with Russian intelligence can help explain why he is not on the run. The FBI says he openly lives in Anapa, a tourist town on the Black Sea in southern Russia.

He owns a large apartment near the beach and possibly another in Moscow, the authorities say, in addition to a collection of luxury cars, although he seems to enjoy riding his Grand Cherokee jeep more. US investigators say Bogachev sails and owns a yacht.

Commanding the criminal scheme was a lot of work. Bogachev often complained that he was exhausted and did not have enough time to spend with his family, said Russian hacker Alexander Panin, who used to communicate with Bogachev online and now serves time for bank fraud in a federal building in Kentucky .

Apart from that, little is known about Bogachev, who preferred to operate anonymously, using different pseudonyms: slavic, lucky12345, pollingsoon. Even his closest professional collaborators never met him face to face or knew his real name.

He was highly paranoid, commented J. Keith Mularski, FBI supervisor in Pittsburgh. His investigation into Bogachev led to his indictment in 2014. He trusted no one.

Russia does not have an extradition treaty with the United States, and Russian officials say that since Bogachev did not commit a crime on Russian soil, there is no basis for arresting him.

Attempts to contact Bogachev for this article were unsuccessful. Asked about him, his lawyer in Anapa, Alexey Stotskii, replied: The fact that he is wanted by the FBI morally prevents me from saying anything.

An excerpt from the file on Bogachev compiled by the Ukrainian Ministry of the Interior, which is helping the FBI to track his movements, says he works under the supervision of a special FSB unit, the Federal Security Service. , the leading Russian intelligence agency. The FSB did not respond to requests for declarations.

The fact that Bogachev remains at liberty the most powerful argument in favor of the thesis that he is in the service of the Russian government, said Austin Berglas, who until 2015 was an assistant special agent in charge of cyber-investigations from the field office. of the FBI in New York.

Hackers like Bogachev are the autonomous ones, according to Berglas, following orders from the Russian intelligence services, be it economic espionage or traditional espionage.

This type of agreement provides the Kremlin with a convenient excuse and an easy opportunity to scan the extensive networks of computers infected by Russian hackers, security experts say.

It seems that Russian intelligence agencies occasionally also use malware tools (malicious software) developed for criminal purposes, including the popular BlackEnergy, to attack the computers of enemy governments.

WikiLeaks' recent disclosures about CIA spying tools suggest that the agency also maintained a large collection of spying kits, some of which appear to have been produced by Russia.

Bogachev's career as a hacker eats or has more than a decade, leading to the creation of a malicious software program called GameOver ZeuS that he managed with the help of half a dozen close collaborators who collectively described themselves as The Business Club (the business club), according to the FBI and security researchers.

Working around the clock, his minions infected an ever-growing network of computers. They were able to deviate from the most advanced security measures used by banks, quickly emptying accounts and transferring money abroad through a network of intermediaries known as money mules.

FBI officials said it was the most sophisticated online indictment scheme they had ever known, a system that has remained impenetrable for years.

As of 2011, according to an analysis by Fox-IT, computers under the control of Bogachev began to receive requests for information about banking transactions, but requests for files linked to events or health geopolitical situations. headlines.

At about the same time that former President Barack Obama eats or sends ammunition and small arms to serious rebels, in 2013 Turkish computers infected by the Bogachev network were hit by keyboard searches including delivery of weapons and arms delivery.

Before the Russian military intervention in Ukraine, in 2014, infected computers were searched for information on top-secret files from the country's main intelligence directory, the SBU.

Some of the searches were for personal information about government security officials, including e-mails from Georgia's external intelligence service, the Turkish Foreign Ministry and others. The information from Michael Sandee, one of the researchers at Fox-IT.

In the summer of 2014, the FBI and half a dozen police agencies launched Opera o Tovar, a coordinated attack on Bogachev's criminal infrastructure. The attack closed his network and freed computers infected with GameOver ZeuS.

Prosecutors said they were seeking cooperation from the Russian government to capture Bogachev. But the only problem Bogachev seems to have had with justice in Russia was a court case filed against him in 2011 by a real estate company, around the payment of $ 75,000 for his apartment in Anapa, according to Russian court documents. . And even that one he managed to defeat.

The authorities believe that Bogachev has been living under his own name in Anapa and that he occasionally travels by boat Crimea, the Ukrainian peninsula that Russia occupied in 2014. Mularski, the FBI supervisor, said that your agents are still going after clues.

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