A Ukrainian man who allegedly tried to frame cyber-security expert Brian Krebs has been extradited to the United States and is due in Newark federal court today, prosecutors said.
Sergey Vovnenko is accused of taking part in an international conspiracy to hack into the computer networks of individual users and corporations to steal log-in credentials and payment card data, prosecutors said.
According to court records, Vovnenko operated a “botnet” — more than 13,000 computers infected with malicious computer software — programmed to gain unauthorized access to computers and to identify, store and export information from hacked computers. Prosecutors said that Vovnenko and others would then use the stolen data to illegally access and withdraw money from bank accounts and to incur unauthorized charges.
“As described in the indictment, Vovnenko commandeered thousands of computers to create a virtual army of hacked computers that he and his conspirators used to break into other networks and steal valuable information,” U.S. Attorney Fishman said.
Vovnenko, who was arrested last June in Italy by Italian authorities working with the U.S. Secret Service, faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted.
“Our investigative reach will continue to expand beyond geographical borders despite the perceived anonymity these cybercriminals mistakenly think they enjoy,” Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy said.
Vovnenko, known as “Fly,” “Flycracker” or “Flyck,” is also thought to have been behind a 2013 plot to send heroin to cyber-security blogger Brian Krebs, a plot Krebs himself said he foiled because he was monitoring the site where it was hatched.
“Angry that I’d foiled his plan to have me arrested for drug possession,” Krebs wrote on his blog, “Fly had a local florist send a gaudy floral arrangement in the shape of a giant cross to my home, complete with a menacing message that addressed my wife and was signed, ‘Velvet Crabs.'”