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Cybercrime takedown: Is it game over for Gozi trojan that stole millions?

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Since 2007, Gozi has infected at least 1 million computers worldwide, including 40,000 in the US.

Documents released in federal court Wednesday shed light on the federal takedown of the gang – including the three alleged international cybercriminals suspected of creating and distributing the Gozi virus (really a Trojan horse program that creates an invisible digital back door) – as well as the inner workings of the gang.

First, they allege that Nikita Kuzmin, a Russian national, was the mastermind who set out the technical specifications and hired a programmer called only "CC-1" to create the Gozi Trojan in 2005. Mr. Kuzmin was arrested during a visit to the US in November 2010, later pleading guilty to computer intrusion and fraud charges in May 2011.

Charged yesterday were Deniss Calovskis, a Latvian who goes by the online nickname “Miami,” who is alleged to have written some of the computer code that made the Gozi Trojan so effective. He was arrested in Latvia in November 2012. He was indicted on several conspiracy charges, including conspiracy to commit aggravated identity theft.

Also charged was Mihai Ionut Paunescu, a Romanian whose alleged hacker handle is "Virus.” Authorities say he operated a so-called bulletproof hosting service that enabled Kuzmin and other cybercriminals to distribute the Gozi Trojan, the Zeus Trojan, and other infamous malware. He was arrested in Romania in December 2012.

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