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A 21-count indictment was unsealed in which three Romanian nationals were charged for operating a cyber fraud conspiracy in which they infected 60,000 computers, sent out 11 million malicious emails and stole at least million, said U. It began in 2007 with the development of proprietary malware, which they disseminated through malicious emails purporting to be legitimate from such entities as Western Union, Norton Anti Virus and the IRS. “Despite the complexity and global character of these investigations, these arrests demonstrate the commitment by the FBI and our partners to aggressively pursue these individuals and bring justice to the victims.”According to the indictment filed in U. District Court in the Northern District of Ohio: Nicolescu, Danet and Miclaus collectively operated a criminal conspiracy from Bucharest, Romania. They are each charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit service marks, aggravated identity theft, conspiracy to commit money laundering and 12 counts each of wire fraud.“This case illustrates the sophistication and determination with which cyber criminals seek to harm Americans and American businesses from abroad,” said Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. “But our response demonstrates that, with effective international cooperation, we can track these criminals down and make sure they face justice, no matter where or how they try to hide.”“These defendants stole millions of dollars from people in the United States through a sophisticated fraud conspiracy they operated in Eastern Europe,” Rendon said. We will continue to work with both our partners in law enforcement and in the private sector to evolve with the threat and protect our networks and national security.”“This indictment and subsequent arrests reveal the dynamic landscape in which international criminals utilize sophisticated cyber methods to take advantage of and defraud, unsuspecting victims,” Anthony said. Bogdan Nicolescu, 34, Tiberiu Danet, 31, and Radu Miclaus, 34, were extradited to the United States this week after being taken into custody in their native Romania earlier this year.When recipients clicked on an attached file, the malware was surreptitiously installed onto their computer.This malware harvested email addresses from the infected computer, such as from contact lists or email accounts, and then sent malicious emails to these harvested email addresses.
Controlling the computers also allowed the defendants group to use the processing power of the computer to solve complex algorithms for the financial benefit of the group, a process known as cryptocurrency mining.The defendants used stolen email credentials to copy a victim’s email contacts.They also activated files that forced infected computers to register email accounts with AOL.The defendants registered more than 100,000 email accounts using this method.They then sent malicious emails from these addresses to the compromised contact lists.Through this method, they sent more than 11 million malicious emails.When victims with infected computers visited websites such as Facebook, Pay Pal, e Bay or others, the defendants would intercept the request and redirect the computer to a nearly identical website they had created.The defendants would then steal account credentials.They used the stolen credit card information to fund their criminal infrastructure, including renting server space, registering domain names using fictitious identities and paying for Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) which further concealed their identities.The defendants were also able to inject fake pages into legitimate websites, such as e Bay, to make victims believe they were receiving and following instructions from legitimate websites, when they were actually following the instructions of the defendants.They placed more than 1,000 fraudulent listings for automobiles, motorcycles and other high-priced goods on e Bay and similar auction sites.