By Kanishka Singh
(Reuters) -A Russian national appeared in a U.S. federal court on Thursday after he was extradited from South Korea to Ohio to face charges for his alleged role in a cybercriminal organization, the U.S. Department of Justice said.
Vladimir Dunaev, 38, was a member of a cybercriminal organization that deployed a computer banking trojan and ransomware suite of malware known as “Trickbot”, the Justice Department said.
“Trickbot attacked businesses and victims across the globe and infected millions of computers for theft and ransom, including networks of schools, banks, municipal governments, and companies in the health care, energy, and agriculture sectors,” Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said.
The indictment alleges that beginning in November 2015, and continuing through August 2020, Dunaev and others stole money, confidential information, and damaged computer systems from unsuspecting victims, including individuals, financial institutions, school districts, utility companies, government entities, and private businesses.
They allegedly used a network of co-conspirators and freelance computer programmers, known as the Trickbot Group, to create, deploy, and manage the Trickbot malware, which infected millions of computer systems worldwide, the DOJ added.
Dunaev allegedly performed a variety of developer functions in support of the Trickbot malware, including managing the malware’s execution, developing browser modifications and helping to conceal the malware from detection by security software.
The defendants used stolen login credentials and other personal information to gain access to online bank accounts, execute unauthorized electronic funds transfers and launder money through U.S. and foreign beneficiary accounts, according to the indictment.
Dunaev was extradited from South Korea on Oct. 20. He is charged with conspiracy to commit computer fraud and aggravated identity theft, conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and multiple counts of wire fraud, bank fraud, and aggravated identity theft.
A representative of Dunaev could not immediately be contacted.
(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in BengaluruEditing by Alistair Bell)