In the UK, Russian hackers were revealed, acting under the pseudonym Evil Corp. “The most malicious cybercriminal group” has stolen “hundreds of millions of dollars” from England alone. This was reported by the UK National Crime Agency.
Evil Corp has been called the “Highly Qualified Criminal Group,” which poses the UK’s most serious threat. According to investigators, the head of the organization was 32-year-old Maxim Yakubets from Moscow.
British law enforcement officials claim that Yakubets personally employed dozens of people who worked from the cellars of Moscow cafes. According to investigators, Evil Corp attacked the UK for more than ten years, stealing money from the bank accounts of residents and companies.
What threatens the 32-year-old head of the group
The involvement of the young man was established thanks to a joint investigation of the British anti-crime agencies and the US FBI. In America, Yakubets was charged in absentia with involvement in hacking and banking fraud from 2009 to the present.
If Yakubets tries to leave Russia, then he will be detained and extradited to the United States. America also imposed sanctions on 24 individuals involved in the group, including Andrei Plotnitsky, Dmitry Smirnov and others. They were restricted access to international banking instruments, and property in the US was arrested.
Investigators found that Yakubets leads a luxurious lifestyle: he drives a Lamborghini with the number “IN” and spent about 21 million rubles on his wedding. The United States appointed for the information that would lead to its capture, the largest award in the history of cybercrime investigations – $ 5 million
Other members of the group were also clearly not in poverty: the British secret services published pictures of their expensive cars, weddings and from foreign vacations. Probably the images were taken from open sources.
How Evil Corp stole money
The main malicious tool of the group was called the Dridex botnet, launched in 2014. His study was carried out by a separate team of investigators, the evidence of which became key to the US allegations.
According to Symantec data for 2016, Dridex infected computers in at least 300 different organizations in 40 countries. Mostly the virus penetrated devices through infected attachments in e-mail messages. After installation, the malware worked in stealth mode, collecting victim data for fraud and theft of funds.
The British intelligence services noted that in 2015, together with the FBI, they managed to temporarily disable the Dridex botnet. However, in a few weeks, Evil Corp updated its infrastructure and continued criminal activity. In the same year, another operation led to the capture and detention of Andrei Ginkul, one of the authors of Dridex, known as Smilex.
According to the investigation, Yakubets used several different pseudonyms, but is best known as Aqua. He participated in the activities of the Dridex and Zeus botnets, and is also associated with the case of Evgeny Bogachev , who is still wanted by the US authorities.
Authorities believe the public prosecution made Yakubets “toxic” to other criminals. In addition to the head of Evil Corp, charges were also brought against 38-year-old administrator Igor Tyurashev, who controlled Dridex.
Investigations in the UK also touched a money laundering network that helped Evil Corp legalize criminal proceeds and return them to Russia. Eight people were sentenced to 40 years in prison.
As the director general of the National Agency for Cybercrime Lynn Owens noted, despite the fact that banks were the victims of cybercriminals, in fact, ordinary people suffered.
The Lamborghini, which Yakubets drives, was someone else’s savings that had disappeared from the bank account.
In the Department of Combating Crime, the US Department of Justice noted that Maxim Yakubets has been engaged in cybercrime for more than ten years and participated in the distribution of two of the most serious malicious programs. The FBI added that they have a “long memory” and will not forget crimes, and attackers will be held accountable regardless of where they try to hide.