Baltic SpyEye malware trio sent to prison

Filed Under: Featured, Law & order, Malware

Convictions for malware-related cybercriminality are uncommon, notably because of the international jurisdictional complexities of investigating and prosecuting such offences.

Despite the challenges, however, the cops sometimes do get their man - or men.

We think it's worth reminding you when this happens.

So we were pleased to receive, over the weekend, a press release on just such a topic from the UK's Police Central e-crime Unit.

The PCeU, jointly funded by the Home Office and London's Metropolitan Police, is the UK's national investigative response team for cybercrime.

Here's what they had to say:

Two men who used malicious computer software to steal the personal banking details for unsuspecting victims have been sentenced to nine years for offences under the Computer Misuse Act, and for other crimes including making articles for use in fraud, possession of articles for use in fraud, and for offences under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

The two men, Pavel Cyganok and Ilja Zakrevski, who hail from Lithunia and Estonia respectively, were pinched after PCeU investigators were alerted by their counterparts in the Estonian Police.

A third man, Aldis Krummins, who hails from Latvia, was sent down for two years for money-laundering crimes related to the malware attacks. (Once you've stolen money electronically, you still need to work it through the system to realised your ill-gotten gains.)

According to the PCeU, the crooks netted about £100,000 ($155,000) by using the SpyEye Trojan to help them break into online bank accounts.

They used the stolen money to fund and expand their criminal infrastructure, and to make online purchases of luxury items that they resold on auction sites.

With victims identified not just from the UK but also from Denmark, The Netherlands and New Zealand, the global nature of malware-related cybercrookery is obvious, so we all need to play our part.

As the police press release concludes:

The PCeU would like to remind the public that everyone can make it harder for cybercriminals by taking sensible precautions to protect personal data. Unprotected computers are more prone to infection and leave data exposed.


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Image of hazard sign courtesy of Shutterstock

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3 Responses to Baltic SpyEye malware trio sent to prison

  1. I'd be impressed more if they bagged some of the developers behind SpyEye and not just the end-users who made mistakes.

  2. njorl · 812 days ago

    £100,000? How does this compare with the proceeds of similar computer crime?

    If on-line account theft pays this poorly, it's not surprising to find eastern Europeans doing the job.

    I hope this successful detection, and the nine-year sentence, will prove a successful deterrent. I'd like to know the total cost of time and electricity expended by everyone having to use anti-malware in the face of such threats.

  3. skaidriba · 812 days ago

    Pavel Cyganok and Ilja Zakrevski are russians. 80% of so called "citizens" from baltic states criminals are russians.

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About the author

Paul Ducklin is a passionate security proselytiser. (That's like an evangelist, but more so!) He lives and breathes computer security, and would be happy for you to do so, too. Paul won the inaugural AusCERT Director's Award for Individual Excellence in Computer Security in 2009. Follow him on Twitter: @duckblog