Law enforcement can celebrate a flurry of wins against cybercrime over the past week.
Trader in $30 million hacking and fraud scheme fesses up
Today, another securities trader pleaded guilty to criminal charges brought in August for the largest known hacking and securities fraud scheme -- a five-year international operation that resulted in $30 million in illegal gains.
Nine individuals were charged by federal authorities in August -- a combination of two "hacker defendants" and seven "trader defendants." The hacker defendants reportedly were given half of the profits. They were also charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission--as were 23 other people--and with their profits added in, the illegal gains associated with the conspiracy added up to $100 million.
One of the nine charged -- a trader defendant, Arkadiy Dubovoy, 51, of Alpharetta, Georgia -- pleaded guilty today. Two other traders, Alexander Garkushka and Igor Dubovoy, have already pleaded guilty to some of the charges brought against them.
Hackers used phishing, SQL injection, and brute force attacks to compromise a variety of newswire services -- including PR Newswire, Business Wire, and Marketwired -- stealing tens of thousands of press releases before they were published. They passed the data to the traders, who used the info to make trades before it went public.
The hackers provided traders with user credentials from the newsire companies and instructions on how to access the data and avoid detection by hiding their IP addresses.
Some of the companies that were affected were in the IT and IT security industry, including Verisign and Hewlett Packard, as well as major retailers like Home Depot and Panera.
Destructive malicious IT insider number one sentenced
Nikhil Nilesh Shah, 33, of Union, N.J., was sentenced to 30 months in prison and $324,462 in restitution, Tuesday, after pleading guilty to transmitting computer code and intentionally causing at least $5,000 in damages.
Three months after being terminated as IT manager of mobile platform development firm Smart Online in 2012, Shah remotely infected the company's servers with malware and deleted its intellectual property.
Destructive malicious IT insider number two convicted
Brian Johnson, 44, of Baton Rouge, La., was convicted Monday of intentionally causing damage to a protected computer at a manufacturing facility.
Just several days after being fired as IT specialist and sysadmin for the manufacturer, he remotely accessed the plant's systems and trasmitted code and commands that damaged plant operations. His terms of his sentence will depend on the value of the damage he caused to the company; the value will be determined at scheduled sentencing in May.
Hacking forum admin confesses to role in international hacking, wire fraud conspiracy
Ukrainian citizen Sergey Vovnenko, 29, most recently of Naples, Italy, admitted Wednesday he stole bank credentials and payment card data from US citizens and corporations, and pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy and aggravated identity theft.
Vovnenko used a 13,000-strong botnet and Zeus malware in the attacks.
The aggravated identity theft charge carries a mandatory two-year prison sentence; the wire fraud conspiracy charge has a maximum sentence of $250,000 and 20 years in prison.
Two Darkode convictions, very different sentences
Two individuals involved in the now-defunct Darkode criminal hacking forum were handed two very different sentences by the same judge. Thursday, United States District Judge Maurice B. Cohill, Jr. issued merely two years of probation to Naveed Ahmed, 27, of Tampa, Fla. Yet, Phillip Fleitz, 31, of Indianapolis, Ind., received 27 months in prison.
Both were convicted for violating the CAN-SPAM Act by knowingly using a protected computer to relay or retransmit multiple commercial electronic mail messages with the intent to deceive or mislead recipients.
Celebrity photos thief pleads guilty
Andrew Helton, 29, of Portland, Ore., pleaded guilty Friday to hacking charges related to a phishing scheme that gave him illegal access to 363 Apple and Google e-mail accounts, including those that netted him some nude or partly nude photos of celebrities.