US charges three Europeans for cyber theft

Hackers & cyber crime

US charges three Europeans for cyber theft

Warwick Ashford

US authorities have arrested and charged three European men with creating and distributing a virus that infected more than a million computers around the world.

The Gozi virus was used by the men from Russia, Latvia and Romania to access personal bank information and steal at least $50m between 2005 and 2011.


At a news conference in New York, US Attorney Preet Bharara revealed 25-year-old Russian Nikita Kuzmin had pleaded guilty to the charges in May 2011, according to the BBC.

Extradition proceedings are underway against 28-year-old Romanian Mihai Ionut Paunescu and 27-year-old Latvian Deniss Calovskis.

US authorities believe the gang began operating in Europe and then moved on to the US, infecting more than 190 computers belonging to US space agency Nasa.

"This case should serve as a wake-up call to banks and consumers alike, because cyber crime remains one of the greatest threats we face, and it is not going away any time soon," said Bharara.

He said the FBI had worked with a number of European countries, including the UK, in tracking down those behind the cyber thefts.



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