U.S. Accuses Russian Email Spammer of Vast Network of Fraud

Posted in: Legal & Security at 11/04/2017 13:37

Several years ago, federal agents traveled to Moscow to enlist the help of their Russian counterparts in arresting one of the world’s most pernicious email spammers. They were rebuffed, a former American law enforcement official who was there said. The spammer, who used the pseudonym Peter Severa, was protected, probably by the Russian government, and could not be touched.

The agents went home and waited for their target to make a mistake.

Last week he did, traveling for vacation to Barcelona, Spain, where the agents who had been following him for years were ready. Early last Friday, Spanish police burst into the hotel room where the spammer was staying with his family and arrested him. Simultaneously, cybersecurity operatives from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and several private companies took down his online network of tens of thousands of virus-infected computers.

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Russian arrested in Spain 'over mass hacking'
Spanish police have arrested a Russian programmer following US allegations of large-scale hacking.

Pyotr Levashov was held in Barcelona on Friday and is remanded in custody.

Spanish police said Mr Levashov controlled a botnet called Kelihos, hacking information and installing malicious software in hundreds of thousands of computers.

The arrest was part of a "complex inquiry carried out in collaboration with the FBI", police said.

Mr Levashov is subject to a US international arrest warrant and a Spanish court will hear whether he can be extradited.

U.S. targets spam botnet after Russian arrested in Spain
The U.S. Justice Department said on Monday it had launched an effort to take down the Kelihos botnet, a global network of tens of thousands of infected computers it claims was operated by a Russian national who was arrested in Spain over the weekend.

Peter Yuryevich Levashov operated the Kelihos botnet that infected computers running Microsoft Corp's Windows operating system since approximately 2010, the Justice Department said.

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