US offers highest-ever reward - $4 million - for Russian hacker

The United States on Tuesday offered a US$3 million (S$4 million) reward for information to apprehend a Russian national sought in a major hacking enterprise that stole some US$100 million. -- PHOTO: FBI.GOV
The United States on Tuesday offered a US$3 million (S$4 million) reward for information to apprehend a Russian national sought in a major hacking enterprise that stole some US$100 million. -- PHOTO: FBI.GOV

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States on Tuesday offered a US$3 million (S$4 million) reward for information to apprehend a Russian national sought in a major hacking enterprise that stole some US$100 million.

The State Department made the announcement of the reward for information on Evgeniy Mikhailovich Bogachev, believed to be the administrator of the group that created the "GameOver Zeus" malware that enabled thieves to break into bank accounts in 12 countries.

Bogachev is already on the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI's) cyber "most wanted" list and is believed to be living in Russia.

"This reward offer reaffirms the commitment of the US government to bring those who participate in organised crime to justice, whether they hide online or overseas," a State Department statement said.

Bogachev was charged last year with 14 counts including conspiracy, computer hacking, bank fraud and money laundering, after the FBI said it dismantled the operation with the help of technology companies such as Microsoft and Symantec.

According to investigators, the scheme used e-mails to infect up to one million computers, which could then be controlled by the hackers to gain bank login credentials to steal funds.

Some security experts said the malware re-emerged shortly after the FBI action.