One is a 33-year-old Russian national who allegedly usually sports a shaved head and enjoys boating in the Black Sea. The other is a 29-year-old from Latvia alleged to have as many as 10 online aliases and to sometimes dye his brown hair red or blond.
The two men are notorious hackers on the FBI’s most-wanted list who were singled out this week by the U.S. Treasury Department.
A senior administration official said both men are “notorious cybercriminals who have been responsible for … havoc in the international financial system, including against American companies.”
Evgeniy Bogachev and Aleksey Belan are not being connected to alleged Russian efforts to interfere with U.S. election processes, according to the Treasury Department, although sanctions against them were announced at the same time as sanctions against Russian individuals and entities allegedly involved in efforts to interfere with U.S. election-related institutions.
“As all of these actions make clear, we will not tolerate the abuse of our systems, including our election systems, by foreign actors,” the senior administration official said of the sanctions in a call to reporters.
Here is what is known about the two hackers:
The 33-year-old is a Russian national whose involvement in online theft schemes had been under investigation by the FBI since 2009.
He usually shaves his head and “is known to enjoy boating and may travel to locations along the Black Sea in his boat,” according to the FBI’s most wanted poster.
Bogachev has used at least five online aliases, two of which — “lucky12345” and “slavik” — were also listed by the FBI.
He is wanted for “alleged involvement in a wide-ranging racketeering enterprise and scheme that installed, without authorization, malicious software known as “Zeus” on victims’ computers,” the FBI poster states.
The malicious software was used to steal passwords, bank account information, and other personal identification numbers which were then used to steal money from victims’ bank accounts, according to the FBI.
An updated version of that software was believed to be responsible for more than a million “computer infections,” which the FBI connected to financial losses of more than $100 million.
He was indicted twice in the U.S. — first in Nebraska in 2012 under one of his online aliases, and then again in Pennsylvania under his legal name in 2014. The indictments carried a range of charges, including bank fraud, computer fraud and aggravated identity theft among others.
A criminal complaint was issued in Nebraska following that second indictment that connected his legal name to the earlier indictment.
The FBI poster says it is offering a reward of up to $3 million for information leading to his arrest or conviction.
The 29-year-old hacker is a Latvian with Russian citizenship and a Russian passport, according to the FBI most wanted poster.
The FBI lists five different spellings of his name, as well as five online aliases, and the Treasury Department lists an additional five online aliases.
“He may wear eyeglasses and dye his brown hair red or blonde,” the FBI poster says. “He speaks Russian and may travel to Russia, Greece, Latvia, the Maldives, and Thailand” and was last known to be in Athens, Greece.
Belan is wanted for allegedly infiltrating “the computer networks of three major United States-based e-commerce companies in Nevada and California. He is alleged to have stolen their user databases which he then exported and made readily accessible on his server” in 2012 to early 2013. “Belan allegedly stole the user data and the encrypted passwords of millions of accounts and then negotiated the sales of the databases,” according to the FBI.
Two separate federal arrest warrants for Belan have been issued, and the FBI is offering a reward of up to $100,000 for information leading to this arrest.
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