The US Federal Bureau of Investigation is offering a US$3 million reward for information leading to the arrest of a Russian hacker charged with creating a computer virus used to steal more than US$100 million from businesses and consumers.
The US Justice Department last year accused Evgeniy Mikhailovich Bogachev of being the mastermind behind a hacking campaign known as Gameover Zeus, which infected hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide, Bloomberg News reported.
Bogachev remains at large and faces charges including conspiracy, money laundering, bank fraud and wire fraud.
The US accused Bogachev of running a criminal ring responsible for Gameover Zeus, which linked infected computers into what is known as a botnet to siphon money and valuable information from victims’ computers.
Bogachev also developed malware known as Cryptolocker that locks data on the computers of victims until they pay a ransom, the US said.
US agencies began an international operation last year that successfully seized the command-and-control servers used by Bogachev and dismantled Gameover Zeus.
An arrest warrant was issued for Bogachev, also known by the online nicknames Slavik and Pollingsoon. He was last known to reside in Anapa, Russia.
The offer is part of an increased effort by administration of President Barack Obama to stem a rise in hacking that the National Security Agency estimates costs US companies and consumers about US$400 billion a year, the news agency said.
The reward is the biggest ever offered by the agency, said Joseph Demarest, assistant director for the FBI’s cyber division.
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