Nine charged in ‘Zeus’ malware scheme

The Justice Department unsealed charges against nine people for using malicious software to break into people’s bank accounts on Friday.

The two Ukrainian citizens scheduled to come before a court in Nebraska on Friday were accused of running a money laundering network to route money from victims’ bank accounts through “money mules” who acted as middlemen.

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Yuriy Konovalenko, 31, and Yevhen Kulibaba, 36, were recently extradited from the United Kingdom to face charges in the U.S. Three other Ukrainians, one Russian, and three other unidentified people allegedly behind the scheme remain at large.

“As the charges unsealed today demonstrate, we are committed to making the Internet more secure and protecting the personal information and bank accounts of American consumers,” acting Assistant Attorney General David O’Neil said in a statement. “With the invaluable cooperation of our foreign law enforcement partners, we will continue to bring to justice cyber criminals who steal the money of U.S. citizens.”

The “Zeus” or “Zbot” software allegedly captures passwords, account numbers and other details that were used to log into people’s online bank accounts and steal millions.

In addition, the DOJ claimed that the people pretended to be employees of their victims in order to transfer money out of their bank accounts to the middlemen.

The department did not specify how much money the people allegedly stole.