FBI places $3m bounty on head of GameOver Zeus mastermind

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FBI places $3m bounty on head of GameOver Zeus mastermind

American law enforcement is hunting down Russian cybercriminal.

If you're looking to earn $3 million tax free, the FBI may have an interesting offer for you. All you have to do is hand over details leading to the arrest or conviction of alleged cyber criminal Evgeniy Mikhailovich Bogachev and the money is yours.

According to the agency, Bogachev is a "prolific cyber criminal" and one of the masterminds behind the GameOver Zeus botnet.

GameOver Zeus, which was used primarily to carry out banking fraud and distribute CryptoLocker ransomware, was one of the biggest and most sophisticated botnets in history. Between its creation in 2011 and its takedown in mid-2014 during Operation Tovar, GameOver Zeus is thought to have infected over one million computers and, according to the US Department of Justice, was implicated in the theft of more than $US100 million.

There are currently two criminal cases pending against Bogachev in the US. The first is in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where in 2014 he was charged in absence with conspiracy, computer hacking, wire fraud, bank fraud, and money laundering. The other was filed in Omaha, Nebraska, in 2012, where he was charged, once again in his absence, with conspiracy to commit bank fraud relating to Jabber Zeus - a predecessor to GameOver Zeus.

Whether anyone will ever get their hands on the reward is somewhat debatable, though. As the agency's own press release states, "Bogachev ... is believed to be at large in Russia", which is to say beyond its grip.

We find it somewhat hard to imagine he will set foot on US soil while the charges against him remain, which will probably be for the rest of his life. There is the possibility of issuing an international arrest warrant, as Russia is a member of Interpol. However, given the current frosty relations between the two countries, we wouldn't hold our breath.

Copyright © Alphr, Dennis Publishing
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