Alleged creator of Gozi banking Trojan arrested in Colombia

Nancy J. Delong

Colombian law enforcement have arrested a hacker wished in the U.S. for his alleged function in the distribution of the notorious Gozi banking Trojan, which resulted in the theft of a lot more than $50 million between the mid-2000s and early 2010s. Romanian Mihai Ionut Paunescu, also regarded as “Virus,” […]

Colombian law enforcement have arrested a hacker wished in the U.S. for his alleged function in the distribution of the notorious Gozi banking Trojan, which resulted in the theft of a lot more than $50 million between the mid-2000s and early 2010s.

Romanian Mihai Ionut Paunescu, also regarded as “Virus,” was arrested at Bogotá’s El Dorado Worldwide Airport, in accordance to an article revealed by the Colombian Attorney General’s business Tuesday. He was indicted by the U.S. in late 2012 for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit lender fraud and conspiracy to commit laptop intrusion in relation to Gozi.

The Attorney General’s article referred to him (translated via Google) as “1 of the creators and the key distributor” of Gozi, which infected a lot more than one million computers principally in Europe and the United States. Gozi originated in Eastern Europe in the mid-2000s, and was regarded for its cybercrime-as-a-company business enterprise model in which unaffiliated criminals could fork out to make use of the trojan. Gozi nevertheless exists in various sorts to day, like variants of the primary virus.

Paunescu operated a “bulletproof internet hosting company,” in which he utilized computers from about the globe to aid and supply the on the internet infrastructure for Gozi cybercrime. As his indictment clarifies, the bulletproof internet hosting company authorized cybercriminals to distribute malware, execute DDoS assaults and transmit spam.

Paunescu was previously arrested in Romania in Dec. 2012, but he was ultimately not extradited. In accordance to the Attorney General’s article, Colombian law enforcement informed the regional United States Embassy “so that, in the conditions of the legislation, it could present the arrest ask for for extradition uses.”

Other Gozi operators have been arrested about the yrs. Nikita Kuzmin, another Gozi creator, was explained to in a U.S. judicial ruling to fork out $six.9 million in monetary restitution in 2016, after he had served three yrs in U.S. custody. Kuzmin was billed along with Paunescu and Latvian programmer Deniss Calovskis by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York in 2012. Calovskis acquired a 21-thirty day period jail sentence.

The Colombian Attorney General’s business did not reply to SearchSecurity’s ask for for remark.

Alexander Culafi is a writer, journalist and podcaster primarily based in Boston.

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