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January 29, 2014

Russian SpyEye banking malware author found guilty in US

Panin-developed SpyEye malware infected 1.4 million PCs in the US and abroad.

By CBR Staff Writer

Russian national Aleksandr Andreevich Panin pleaded guilty in a federal court in Atlanta to charges of developing a bank-robbing computer virus dubbed ‘SpyEye’, that infected 1.4 million PCs in the US and abroad.

According to the FBI, the Panin-developed malware automated the theft of confidential personal and financial data including online banking credentials, credit card information, usernames, passwords, PINs, and other data that facilitates stealing money from the victims’ financial accounts.

Panin traded his malware online through anonymous internet forums for $1,000 to $8,500, and is said to have earned $3.2 million by selling the malware during six months.

He even sold the malware to an under cover agent of FBI before being arrested in July 2013 while flying through Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta.

Acting assistant attorney general Mythili Raman said that Americans do not need to be reminded how devastating it is when cyber criminals surreptitiously install malicious codes on computer networks and then siphon away private information from unsuspecting consumers.

"Today, thanks to the tireless work of prosecutors and law enforcement agents, Aleksandr Panin has admitted to his orchestration of this criminal scheme to use ‘SpyEye’ to invade the privacy of Americans by infecting their computers through a dangerous botnet," Raman said.

"As this prosecution shows, cyber criminals – even when they sit on the other side of the world and attempt to hide behind online aliases – are never outside the reach of U.S. law enforcement."

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