Sunday, April 14, 2024

Ukrainian Hacker Pleads Guilty for Leading Zeus & IcedID Malware Attacks

Vyacheslav Igorevich Penchukov, a 37-year-old resident of Donetsk, Ukraine, has pleaded guilty to his key role in developing and deploying the notorious Zeus and IcedID malware attacks. 

In 2022, he was apprehended in Switzerland and extradited to the United States in 2023.

These two malware gangs are notorious for their ability to infect thousands of computers and steal millions of dollars from their victims. 

This group has become infamous for its highly effective cyber attacks on prominent healthcare facilities, government entities, and various private sector enterprises.

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Roles in Zeus

In 2009, a member of the Zeus threat actor group named Vyacheslav compromised thousands of business computers. Once the computer was infected, they stole sensitive information such as bank account details, passwords, and personal identification numbers required for online banking.

Penchukov and his associates posed as victims’ employees and tricked banks into making unauthorized transfers from the victims’ accounts.

As a result of his actions, Penchukov was added to the FBI’s Cyber Most Wanted List. Despite this, he continued to collaborate with the IcedID malware operators.

Roles in IcedID

Vyacheslav was involved in working with IcedID between November 2018 and February 2021, a banking malware that surfaced in 2017. The malware is designed to extract sensitive personal information, including banking account credentials, from its victims. 

In addition to this, IcedID malware can install other malware and ransomware on the infected systems. One notable incident involving IcedID was the attack on Vermont Medical Center, which resulted in the crippling of more than 1,300 servers.

“Core to the FBI’s cyber strategy is our willingness to play the long game and take players off the field. Vyacheslav Penchukov was a prolific criminal for over a decade and his criminal activities caused millions in damages,” said Assistant Director Bryan Vorndran of the FBI’s Cyber Division.

Penchukov pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit a racketeer-influenced and corrupt organization (RICO) act offense for his leadership role in the “Zeus” enterprise. Penchukov (as Andreev) also pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud for his leadership role in the IcedID malware group, reads DOJ press release.

The defendant’s sentencing is set for May 9th, with a potential maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for each charge.

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Guru baran
Guru baran
Gurubaran is a co-founder of Cyber Security News and GBHackers On Security. He has 10+ years of experience as a Security Consultant, Editor, and Analyst in cybersecurity, technology, and communications.

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