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A global operation conducted by a dozen foreign countries and led by the United States was able to put a stop to a hacking ring that was stealing millions of dollars directly from bank accounts.
According to The Washington Post, Justice Department officials say that 30-year-old Evgeniy Bogachev, aka lucky12345, was the leader behind the whole scheme and he has indicted on hacking, bank fraud and conspiracy charges.
The scheme relied on a botnet, which officials say is a network of computers that are secretly infected and ordered to carry out some task, was called Gameover Zeus. Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole described the botnet as "the most sophisticated and damaging ... we have ever encountered.
According to Reuters, between 500,000 and 1 million computers worldwide were enslaved to help steal financial information and also quietly installed "ransomware," called Cryptolocker. The software would encrypt files on an infected computer and then demand money from the user for their release.
The Justice Department says that in just two months, the group was able to get $27 million through ransom demands. In all, the hacking group, led by Boachev, stole more than $100 million.
"These schemes were highly sophisticated and immensely lucrative, and the cyber criminals did not make them easy to reach or disrupt," DOJ criminal division head Leslie Caldwell said.