Federal authorities recently charged three men in a U.S. District Court in New York with various offenses related to alleged cybercrime. The federal criminal defense that the three men must now consider mounting stems from accusations that they participated in an apparent conspiracy that ultimately infected over one million computers worldwide with a malicious virus meant to bilk millions of dollars from international consumers. The virus reportedly infected at least 40,000 computers in this country alone.
The computers affected in our country included NASA computers that were attacked by what many have called the Gozi virus. Just under 200 computers were infected at NASA, resulting in sensitive financial and other information being transmitted to unauthorized individuals without the original users' permission. The Gozi virus was not the only dangerous virus or software to be sent out by this alleged cybercrime ring.
Others included viruses and software such as Black Energy, SpyEye and Zeus Trojan. Officials maintain that this conspiracy resulted in tens of millions of dollars being stolen by hackers who used the malicious computer viruses to steal passwords and online financial information. The three men who have been charged in this federal prosecution include a man arrested in Romania, one arrested in Latvia, and a Russian national who was actually apprehended in New York.
These three men must now consider whether to negotiate with prosecutors or mount a vigorous federal criminal defense against the charges that have been made against them. These charges include bank fraud, along with bank fraud conspiracy, and could lead to serious penalties in the event of any convictions. Since all of these defendants come from other countries, it is especially important that they ensure that they fully understand their rights and responsibilities under American law.
Source: Fox News, "Feds file charges in NY against 3 over virus that infected more than 1M computers globally," Jan. 23, 2013