Trial Set for Latvian Accused of Running Malware Operation on Darknet
Ruslans Bondars, a permanent resident of Latvia was arrested and accused of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and computer hacking aimed at businesses in the United States of America. The latest update of his arrest is that a trial has been set for him. Together with a Russian, Jurijs Martisevs, they sold sophisticated malware on the Dark web, as well as other hacking services.
According to the court, the duo also engaged in the testing of malware with a top antivirus to check if they could really be detected. From the court documents, they ran this Dark web business for about 10 years, accepting bitcoin as a payment option.
Bondars had been a hot cake in the malware business on the Dark web until his arrest by the police. With many different methods, he collaborated with a developer in Virginia to ensure a smooth service.
Bondars and Martisevs were able to make a keylogger for about 3,000 customers on the Dark web marketplace. Aside from the keylogger, it is suspected that they engaged in other hacking techniques to obtain sensitive data from people. About 16,000 computers were infected by keylogging.
It was revealed that they targeted businesses for their operations, however, the specific businesses were not named by authorities.
The build-up to the case has been a complex one, as the conspirator, Martisevs was indicated to be Latvian in the indictment. However, it was later realized that he was a national of Russia. With respect to this, the Russian authorities protested the arrest, citing the violation of 1999 agreement between the two countries.
Despite the accusations leveled against the U.S. authorities on the Russian Embassy’s Facebook post, the U.S. Attorney’s office has remained in silence and refused to comment. According to the Russian Embassy in America facebook page, this is not a criminal arrest but a kidnapping of a Russian citizen.
Despite the complaint on facebook, Martisevs is expected to appear before the court in July after pleading guilty in March. He pleaded guilty to malware and hacking charges and also to conspiracy.
Considering the fact that cybercrime has a been a tough nut to crack, authorities have decided not to treat any such cases lightly. As part of the strategies to put a stop to the malware and cybercrime operations, the New Connecticut task force deployed to go after cybercriminals.
Both Martisevs and Bondars have made a brief appearance to the court, and it was made known that Martisevs acted as a customer service agent who assisted in the easy navigation of the services offered. A remote access Trojan was also part of their services aside from the keylogger.
Joshua Jacob Horowitz, the defense lawyer said to the court that his client agreed to go to the court to face all charges without being forced. “My client came here voluntarily . . . to face these charges,” he said. According to the Assistant U.S. Attorney, Kellen Dwyer, Bondars admitted to having many bank accounts in different in different countries.
This revelation came to light after the police noticed that the arrested malware seller had a cash of $30,000 in his possession. The money is believed to be a revenue from his illicit dealings which has been a source of income since 2006.
Ransomware attacks have been on the rise with hacking software being offered for sale at cheaper prices on the Dark web. Hackers have been presented with varied options to present their tools.
Both private and government institutions have been a major target as their sensitive data is and computers are infected by these hackers. In 2017, a huge amount of money was paid by various institutions as ransoms. Individuals have also been a target as this malware is capable of stealing their credit card information.
Authorities are expected to launch a crackdown on the various cybercrime websites to subject cybercriminals under the authority of the law.