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A Russian Cyber Criminal Pleads Guilty in SpyEye Virus Case

A Russian individual has pleaded guilty in a plan in which he developed and distributed malicious software which is a malware that polluted 1.4 million computers throughout the world to embezzle confidential and monetary personal information.

Aleksandr Andreevich Panin, a national from Russia, is also popularly known as "Gribodemon" and "Hardeman" by his online associates plead guilty on 28th January, 2014 to charges of conspiracy to conduct wire and bank deceit and he is planned to be sentenced on 29th April, 2014 by Amy Totenberg, US District Judge.

SpyEye is a complicated computer code which is devised to automate the pilfering of confidential private and financial data like banking credentials, usernames, passwords, PINs and other information related to personal identity. It (SpyEye) infects the computers of victims which enables cybercriminals to distantly control the tainted computers through C2 (command and control) servers and the victim's embezzled personal and financial information is transmitted to C2 servers where it is employed to embezzle money from the financial accounts of victims.

According to US prosecutors, Panin was the main creator and distributor of malware called "SpeEye" and while working from Russia during 2009 to 2011 he connived with others including codefendant Hamza Bendelladj, an Algerian also popularly called "Bx1", to build up market and sell tailor-made versions of SpyEye software online for $1,000 to $8,500. One of the clients of Panin is understood to have embezzled over 43.2 million using the SpeEye virus during 6-month time period.

Financial services market informs that over 10,000 bank accounts of 253 financial enterprises have been hijacked by SpyEye infection in 2013 alone. Some cybercriminals continue to use SpyEye even today although it has now limited effects since software manufacturers have added 'SpyEye' to malicious software or malware removal programs.

24 year old Panin was arrested in July 2013 at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia. Officials have also booked Hamza Bendelladj, a co-conspirator who managed SpyEye servers from Georgia, US and was detained at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, Thailand on 5th January, 2013 while he was traveling from Malaysia to Algeria and was extradited from Thailand to the US on 2nd May, 2013.

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