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September 8, 2015

Gozi virus creator pleads guilty in Manhattan federal court

The virus affected 160 systems belonging to NASA.

By CBR Staff Writer

Latvian hacker Deniss Calovskis has pleaded guilty in a Manhattan federal court for creating a malicious computer code that was designed to steal millions of dollars from online bank accounts.

The malicious programme, dubbed the Gozi virus, was described as the one of the most financially destructive computer viruses in history.

The virus fooled online banking customers into revealing passwords and other security information, reportedly affecting 17,000 computers in the US, out of which 160 were from NASA.

Calovskis has been facing five criminal charges, with the maximum penalty under the original charges totalling 67 years in prison, prosecutors said.

However, Calovskis was not the only one involved in the creation of the virus.

Two other accomplices, Mihai Ionut Paunescu and Nikita Kuzmin, were also involved in the creation of the destructive virus which also affected computers in Germany, UK, Poland, France, Finland, and Italy.

Bloomberg cited papers filed under seal in 2011 as saying that Kuzmin started designing Gozi in 2005 to get bank account information belonging to individuals and businesses and later hired a co-conspirator to write the virus’s source code.

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Kuzmin was arrested in 2010, pleaded guilty in May 2011, and agreed to cooperate with the government.

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