The FBI and the State Department announced a record $3 million reward Tuesday for information leading to the arrest of a Russian accused of executing a sophisticated computer heist that siphoned more than $100 million from American bank accounts.
Evgeniy Bogachev, who is believed to be in Russia, was charged last year and in 2012 with computer crimes. He was already on the FBI’s “Cyber’s Most Wanted” list. The $3 million bounty is the highest ever for an alleged cybercriminal.
The 31-year-old fugitive, who authorities say used the online monikers “lucky 12345” and “slavik,” is accused of deploying malicious software known as GameOver Zeus, which is designed to steal bank account numbers and passwords.
Bogachev and his ring allegedly placed malware on victims’ computers, enabling them to watch from Russia as the malware intercepted account numbers and other information that unwitting victims typed into computers.
The infected computers became part of a global network of compromised machines known as a “botnet,” which cybercriminals can use for their own purposes. With GameOver Zeus, Bogachev allegedly used the botnet to initiate or redirect wire transfers to accounts overseas controlled by criminals.
Bogachev also allegedly used the botnet to deliver another form of malware called Cryptolocker, which encrypted victims’ computer files. It placed a message on their screens informing them that they could unlock their files only after paying a ransom of up to $700.
More than 1 million computers worldwide were believed to be infected, officials said.
Bogachev was charged last year in Pittsburgh with conspiracy, computer hacking, wire fraud, bank fraud and money laundering. He was also indicted in Nebraska in 2012 and charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud related to his alleged involvement in deploying an earlier variant of the Zeus malware.
According to the FBI, Bogachev’s last known residence was in Anapa, Russia, on the northern coast of the Black Sea. He also owns property in Krasnodar, about 100 miles to the east.
The reward money is provided through the State Department’s Transnational Organized Crime Rewards program.
Tips on Bogachev’s whereabouts may be shared with the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI or through the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.