Tens of millions of dollars was stolen this way from online accounts, according to charges filed in a federal court in New York Wednesday against the alleged leading members of the Gozi Gang, cyber-bank-robber masterminds and creators of the infamous Gozi Trojan, one of the world's most notorious and malicious bank-theft software programs.
According to the US attorney for New York’s Southern District, the alleged gang leaders, three Eastern European men in US custody, played critical roles in producing and distributing the Gozi virus. They faced criminal charges ranging from conspiracy to commit bank fraud to access device fraud and computer intrusion, and maximum penalties ranging from 60 to 95 years in prison.
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.