Hacker Arrested For Stealing $ 100 Million Through Botnet

Hacker Arrested  For Stealing $ 100 Million Through Botnet

The US authorities have sentenced a Russian citizen to eight years in prison for his alleged participation in a cybercriminal network that hacked the bank accounts of multiple users.

Aleksandr Brovko, 36, was arrested in the Czech Republic in 2019 and extradited to the United States after an investigation that spanned a couple of years. The Department of Justice (DOJ) maintains that the defendant was a member of an online forum designed by cybercriminals for the purpose of exchanging malicious software and tools.

The legal documents against him mention that, after losing his job as a programmer, Brovko began working with a friend who happened looking to redirect Internet traffic to specific sites. This job would have been his entry point into the world of cybercrime.

Shortly afterwards Brokov was singled out by Alexander Tverdokhlebov, the mastermind behind this fraudulent operation. Tverdokhlebov was arrested in 2017 and sentenced to nine years in prison for operating a botnet of more than 500,000 infected devices.

Broadly speaking, the scheme worked like this: Tverdokhlebov gained access to thousands of hacked devices remotely. For his part, Brovko had to examine the botnet's records in search of Internet banking credentials obtained thanks to the malware, which was used by the rest of the accomplices to empty thousands of bank accounts through fraudulent transactions.

Brovko developed software to track this data automatically. He also manually searched the data and tested whether the username / password combinations for bank accounts still worked. Prosecutors claim he wrote down the amount of money in people's accounts to pinpoint the ones most worth attacking.

Despite facing a sentence of up to 24 years in prison, Brovko was sentenced to just eight years in prison, in addition to five years of supervised release. The defendant will also have to cover a fine of just $ 100. In the official announcement of his sentence, it is mentioned that Brovko was part of a "$ 100 million botnet conspiracy", although that figure is a bit suspicious since authorities are based on details of 200,000 devices and PCs stored in the computer equipment of Brovko multiplied by $ 500, the minimum dollar value required by law for a charge for unauthorized access to a device.

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