Russian cyber-criminal targeting European businesses jailed

News by Grace Johansson

A Russian hacker who ran a sophisticated computer hacking network that stole over £2 million from UK businesses has been jailed for nine years.

A Russian hacker who ran a sophisticated computer hacking network that stole over £2 million from UK businesses has been jailed for nine years.

Vugar Mollachiev, 37, from Enfield, North London was sentenced at Southwark Crown Court for conspiracy to defraud and money laundering by using technical knowledge to infect computers.

Evidence from a previous cyber-crime investigation identified Mollachiev as being heavily involved in cyber-criminality and online fraud. Scotland Yard said Mollachiev and his friends used their technical knowledge to hack businesses across the UK and Europe. The funds were then spent on high-value goods or transferred to ‘mule' accounts and ‘cashed out' via machines before being transferred back to Russia from where they could not be recovered.

Police said Mollachiev was arrested by officers from the Met's Falcon Cyber Crime Unit on March 17, however he was not sentenced until months later 30 November where he was told of his punishments for the crimes he had committed.

Mollachiev and his gang had been monitoring the businesses they had hacked into via harvested passwords and personal information, this allowed them to gain access to bank accounts and transfer the £2 million they stole. Conspirators were caught on CCTV acting suspiciously and buying foreign currency with the stolen money.

In another development, already serving time for a previous conviction in US federal court, Russian hacker Roman Seleznev was sentenced to an additional 14 years in prison after pleading guilty last September to racketeering and bank fraud.

According to a US Department of Justice press release, Seleznev, 33, will serve two concurrent terms of 168 months for one count of participation in a racketeering enterprise, pursuant to an indictment returned in the US District of Nevada, and one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud pursuant to an indictment returned in the Northern District of Georgia. These two terms will also run concurrently with his previous 27-year prison sentence for causing more than US$169 million (£125 million) in losses using point-of-sale malware.

In Nevada, Seleznev was charged with participating in the international cyber-crime ring, selling its members stolen credit card data and other personal identifying via an automated website, costing victims at least US$51 (£38) million in losses. In Georgia, the Seleznev – aka Track2, Bulba and Ncux – was charged for working as a “casher” for hackers who in 2008 compromised the systems of an Atlanta-based company that processed credit and debit card transactions for banks. This hack resulted in the theft of 45.5 million debit card numbers, which were used to withdraw more than US$ 9.4  million (£7 million) from 2,100 ATMs around the world.

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