Peter Levashov, one of the world's most well-known email spammers and operator of the Kelihos botnet, has been extradited to the US from Spain. He awaits federal charges in Connecticut, where prosecutors say he used the botnet to harvest personal data.
Levashov, a Russian citizen, is accused of identity theft, wire fraud, and conspiracy. He was arrested in April 2017 while on holiday in Barcelona as part of a US Department of Justice effort to take down Kelihos. Officials said the operation was distributing hundreds of millions of fraudulent emails per year, intercepting credentials for online accounts belonging to thousands of Americans, and spreading ransomware. Indictment details were released later the same month.
The spammer initially claimed he was collecting data on opposition parties for the United Russia party, which later said he was unknown to them. Russia filed a competing extradition request; the Spanish National Court approved Levashov's extradition to the US in October.
In addition to driving spam and malware-rigged email campaigns, Levashov has been associated with click-fraud and DDoS operations. Many cyberattackers thought of him as a spam service provider. He was indicted, but not extradited, in 2009 for operating the Storm botnet.
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