Federal authorities in Pittsburgh help take down alleged cybercrime ring | TribLIVE.com

Federal authorities in Pittsburgh help take down alleged cybercrime ring

Megan Guza
Five suspects in an international cybercrime ring known as Goznym remain on the run in Russia.

A federal grand jury in Pittsburgh has indicted 10 members of an alleged transnational cybercrime ring believed to be responsible for $100 million in malware attacks on banks and businesses across the United States, including in Western Pennsylvania.

Victims of the malware attacks include a dozen businesses from Texas to Rhode Island and California to Florida and an asphalt and paving business in New Castle.

The indictment, unsealed Thursday, was announced by Scott Brady, the U.S. Attorney for Western Pennsylvania, in the Netherlands. The takedown of the group, known as GozNym, was a cooperation between Brady’s office, the FBI’s Pittsburgh field office and law enforcement from Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova, Germany and Bulgaria.

“This takedown highlights the importance of collaborating with our international law enforcement partners against the evolution of organized cybercrime,” said Bob Jones, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Pittsburgh office.

The 10 alleged members of GozNym were indicted on charges of conspiracy to commit computer fraud, wire fraud and bank fraud, plus conspiracy to commit money laundering, according to a release from Brady’s office.

The indictment said the suspects infected victims’ computers with the GozNym malware, which was intended to copy online banking credentials and gain access to those accounts. The suspects are from Russia, Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova and Bulgaria.

Five are from Russia and remain on the lam, Brady said. One, Farkhad Rauf Ogly Manokhin, was arrested at the request of the U.S. government while visiting Sri Lanka in 2017 but has since jumped bail, Brady said.

Krasimir Nikolov of Bulgaria was arrested and extradited to the United States in December 2016 to face prosecution in Pittsburgh for his role in the attacks. He pleaded guilty in April and is set for sentencing in August.

Alexander Konovolov of Georgia and Gennady Kapkanov and Alexander Van Hoof of Ukraine will be prosecuted in their home countries, as will Eduard Malanici of Moldova.

Officials called the operation an “unprecedented international effort” of evidence sharing.

Megan Guza is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 412-380-8519, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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