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Friday, April 22, 2016
Notorious International Computer Hackers Sentenced
The FBI released the below report:
Two international computer hackers from Russia and Algeria were sentenced to lengthy prison terms yesterday for their roles in developing and distributing a prolific piece of malware known as SpyEye. The malicious code caused hundreds of millions of dollars in losses to the financial industry around the world.
Aleksandr Andreevich Panin, 27, from Russia, was sentenced to nine and a half years in prison, and Hamza Bendelladj, 27, from Algeria, was sentenced to 15 years in prison in federal court in Atlanta, Georgia.
SpyEye is a sophisticated code designed to secretly automate the theft of confidential personal and financial information such as online banking credentials, credit card information, usernames, passwords, and other personally identifying information. Between 2009 and 2011, SpyEye was the preeminent malware for cyber criminals and was used to infect more than 10 million computers that caused close to $1 billion in financial harm to individuals and institutions.
Panin was the primary developer and distributor of SpyEye. He conspired with others, including co-defendant Hamza Bendelladj, to market various versions of SpyEye through the Internet. Prior to his arrest, Panin was planning to release a second version of SpyEye that could have been one of the most undetectable pieces of malware ever distributed.
Panin was arrested by U.S. authorities in 2013 when he flew through Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. In 2014, he pled guilty to conspiring to commit wire fraud and bank fraud. Bendelladj was apprehended in Thailand in 2013 and extradited to the U.S.
“Through these arrests and sentencing, the risk the public unknowingly faced from the threat posed by the imminent release of a new, highly sophisticated version of SpyEye was effectively reduced to zero,” said J. Britt Johnson, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Atlanta Field Office. He added, “The arrests and sentences serve as a strong deterrent to future malware developers and their customers, regardless of where they are located.”
Paul Davis is a writer who covers crime. He has written extensively about organized crime, cyber crime, street crime, white collar crime, crime fiction, crime prevention, espionage and terrorism. His 'On Crime' column appears in the Washington Times and his 'Crime Beat' column appears in Philadelphia Weekly. He is also a regular contributor to Counterterrorism magazine and writes their online "Threatcon" column. Paul Davis' crime fiction appears in American Crime Magazine. His work has also appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News and other publications. As a writer, he has attended police academy training, gone out on patrol with police officers, accompanied detectives as they worked cases, accompanied narcotics officers on drug raids, observed criminal court proceedings, visited jails and prisons, and covered street riots, mob wars and murder investigations. He has interviewed police commissioners and chiefs, FBI, DEA, HSI and other federal special agents, prosecutors, public officials, WWII UDT frogmen, Navy SEALs, Army Delta operators, Israeli commandos, military intelligence officers, Scotland Yard detectives, CIA officers, former KGB officers, journalists, novelists and true crime authors, gamblers, outlaw bikers, and Cosa Nostra organized crime bosses. Paul Davis has been a student of crime since he was an aspiring writer growing up in South Philadelphia. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy when he was 17 in 1970. He served aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Kitty Hawk during the Vietnam War and he later served two years aboard the Navy harbor tugboat U.S.S. Saugus at the U.S. floating nuclear submarine base at Holy Loch, Scotland. He went on to do security work as a Defense Department civilian while working part-time as a freelance writer. From 1991 to 2005 he was a producer and on-air host of "Inside Government," a public affairs interview radio program that aired Sundays on WPEN AM and WMGK FM in the Philadelphia area. You can read Paul Davis' crime columns, crime fiction, book reviews and news and feature articles on this website. You can read his full bio by clicking on the above photo. And you can contact Paul Davis at email@example.com