Your BBB has learned that on Friday, April 11, 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice unsealed the indictment against nine alleged members of a global racketeering enterprise and conspiracy. The nine are alleged to have infected thousands of business computers with Zeus, also called Zbot, a malicious software. Then, they allegedly used Zeus to steal passwords, account numbers, RSA SecureID token codes which enabled them to log into online banking account. The amount of money they stole has not been released, but it is thought to be in the millions. Two of the nine were extradited from the United Kingdom and were arraigned in federal court Friday, April 11, 2014. Of the six defendants who are named in the indictment, five are Ukrainian and one is Russian. Three individuals charged in the indictment are known as John Doe #1, John Doe #2, and John Doe #3. U.S. Attorney Deborah R. Gilg said, “This demonstrates the global reach of cybercrime and the significant threat to our financial infrastructure.”
The charges against the nine are conspiracy to participate in racketeering activity, conspiracy to violate the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, conspiracy to violate the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act, aggravated identity theft, and multiple counts of bank fraud. The indictment reveals that the nine defendants used residents of the U.S. as “money mules;” they received funds transferred from victims’ bank accounts to their own accounts using Webmoney, an online money system. Once they received the money, they allegedly wired some of it overseas to other members of the conspiracy.
Acting Assistant Attorney General General of Nebraska stated, “The Zeus malware is one of the most damaging pieces of financial malware that has ever been used. As the charges unsealed today demonstrate, we are committed to making the Internet more secure and protecting the personal information and bank accounts of American consumers. With the invaluable cooperation of our foreign law enforcement partners, we will continue to bring to justice cyber criminals who steal the money of U.S. citizens.”
Your BBB has previously reported on scams involving malware. The two most important ways to protect yourself are to keep your anti-virus and anti-malware programs up–to-date and to avoid clicking on links and pop-ups in email and while surfing the Net.
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