Kelihos Botnet Operator Pleads Guilty in Federal CourtThe 38-year-old Russian national operated several botnets and infected thousands of systems with malware.
Peter Yuryevich Levashov, who operated the Kelihos botnet, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Hartford, Conn., to charges related to criminal activities including harvesting login credentials, distributing bulk spam e-mails, and installing ransomware and other malicious software. From the late 1990s until his arrest in April 2017, the 38-year-old Levashov controlled and operated multiple botnets, including Storm, Waledac, and Kelihos.
According to court documents, Levashov distributed spam and other malware, such as banking Trojans and ransomware, and advertised the Kelihos botnet spam and malware services to others. As part of his criminal activity, Levashov, who also used the aliases “Petr Levashov,” “Peter Severa,” “Petr Severa,” and “Sergey Astakhov,” sold and leased malware software and services to other criminals, and engaged in buying, selling, and trading personal information harvested through the botnets and malware.
A native of St. Petersburg, Russia, Levashov was arrested in Barcelona on April 7, 2017. He remains in U.S. custody pending sentencing, which is scheduled for Sept. 6, 2019.
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