Creators of SpyEye Malware Sentenced to 24 Years in Prison

An Algerian and Russian hacking team that were accused of developing a malware that targeted banks were handed stiff sentences for what they did.

The pair of hackers were convicted of creating as well as distributing SpyEye malware designed to steal cash from victims who were unwitting. The two were sentenced to a combined 24 and a half years behind bars.

Hamza “Bx1” Bendelladj from Algeria and Russian Aleksandr “Gribodemon” Andreevich developed this spyware to use to attack the financial industry, which led to the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars by organizations across the globe.

The pair of 27 year olds were given their sentences by Atlanta federal Judge Amy Totenberg. On Thursday, prosecutors said the two were responsible for the banking Trojan that was used between 2010 and 2012 in attacks on banks.

The malware was available to worldwide cybercriminals, resulting in more than 50 million computers being infected worldwide and close to $1 billion stolen from both companies and individuals.

SpyEye is the banking Trojan that proved to be popular amongst cyberattackers. The malware helped steal valuable financials credentials, which included the usernames, PIN Codes, passwords and personal information that identifies an individual for use when breaking into an account online.

When the malware made its way inside a computer through usually web injections or malicious downloads, SpyEye would steal data, and provide the conduit for hackers to access the compromised computer remotely through the command and control server of the malware.

That data was then transferred to the malware’s C&C server, where controllers were able to use that info to break into financial accounts and spend funds or transfer them fraudulently.

According to prosecutors in the U.S., Andreevich Panin was the group’s brain having designed as well as distributed the code as a successor to its predecessor Zeus.

The arrests and subsequent sentences are a strong deterrent to future developers of malware and their clients regardless of where they live, said prosecutors following the sentencing.

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David Glass

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