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Moldova man sentenced in federal court in Pittsburgh cyber conspiracy that stole millions

| Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018, 8:57 p.m.

A Moldova man was sentenced in federal court to time served on his conviction of a conspiracy that stole millions of dollars.

Federal authorities said U.S. District Judge Bissoon imposed the sentence on Andrey Ghinkul, 31, also known as Andrei Ghincul, and “Smilex.”

He was arrested in Cyprus in August 2015 and extradited to the United States in February 2016.

Authorities said the defendant was part of a criminal conspiracy that disseminated the Bugat malware, used malware to steal banking credentials, and then used the stolen credentials to initiate fraudulent electronic funds transfers of millions of dollars from victims’ bank accounts.

Bugat, a multi-function malware package, is also referred to as Cridex and Dridex.

Authorities said it is specifically designed to automate the theft of confidential personal and financial information, such as online banking credentials, from infected computers through the use of keystroke logging and web injects.

The FBI handled the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of Ghinkul. Moldova is an Eastern European country that is former republic of the Soviet Union. Romania is among the countries that it borders.

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