FBI puts $3m bounty on Russian hacker

The FBI has offered a record $3 million reward for information leading to the arrest of a cybercriminal, reports the BBC.

Evgeniy Bogachev has been on the FBI’s radar since last year when he was formally charged on multiple counts, including conspiracy, wire fraud, bank and computer fraud, and money laundering. His cybercrime operation is alleged to have stolen more than $100 million.

Bogachev is accused of running the GameOver Zeus attack network, which is said to have infected more than a million computers. The malware would then search victims’ computers for financial information.

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“This reward offer reaffirms the commitment of the US government to bring those who participate in organized crime to justice, whether they hide online or overseas,” the US State Department said in a statement.

Bogachev is believed to be in Russia, according to the FBI. The Guardian reports that Joseph Demarest – head of the bureau’s cybercrime division – has recently stated that Russia’s own internal security agency had “expressed tentative interest in working with US authorities on investigating cybercrimes,” though he did not explicitly link this to the Bogachev hunt.

On top of the charges outlined earlier, Business Insider reports, Bogachev is also facing federal bank fraud conspiracy charges in Omaha, Nebraska for suspected involvement in an earlier variant of the GameOver Zeus malware called ‘Jabber Zeus.’

Writing about Bogachev’s appearance on the FBI ‘Most Wanted’ board back in June 2014, ESET researcher Stephen Cobb warned of cybercrime “evolving on an industrial scale with the intent to make money off people who rely on computers in their business and daily lives, with no regard to the pain and suffering these crimes inflict.”

Cobb predicted a strong pursuit of those involved in the attacks, and believed their apprehension would have “a strong deterrent effect on some current and wannabe cybercriminals.” Today’s record reward offers suggests that the FBI are thinking along similar lines.

Author , ESET

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