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Hackers sentenced for running $100m malware network

(Image credit: Image Credit: LightField Studios / Shutterstock)

Three people accused of running the GozNym malware network have been sentenced to years in prison, the US Department of Justice has announced..

The three individuals seem to be Georgian and Bulgarian nationals, as the entire ordeal was done in coordination with the Georgian government and law enforcement agencies. Krasimir Nikolov, proven to have been the group’s “account takeover specialist”, will be transported to Bulgaria. He’s been sentenced to “a period of time served”, after having served more than 39 months in prison.

The other two individuals were identified as “primary organiser” of the groups, Alexander Konolov and his assistant Marat Kazandjian, both of which were prosecuted in Georgia.

Nikolov was caught and extradited to the US three years ago. He only pleaded guilty half a year ago, in April.

The three hackers were spreading GozNym, a malware which helped them compromise more than 41,000 of computers and steal money from people’s bank accounts.

The FBI used the opportunity to say online criminals won’t be able to “operate with impunity” on their watch, something the media views with sour scepticism. Engadget, for example, says it’s easy for the FBI to say when it works with allied and partnering countries such as Bulgaria or Georgia. The real problem are hackers operating with Russia and other countries, where the US doesn’t have extradition agreements.

Sead Fadilpašić

Sead is a freelance journalist with more than 15 years of experience in writing various types of content, from blogs, whitepapers, and reviews to ebooks, and many more, across sites including Al Jazeera Balkans, TechRadar Pro, IT Pro Portal, and CryptoNews.