Another author of Citadel malware that resulted in $500 million stolen from customer accounts faces 10 years in prison

23 March 2017

In the US a hacker which participated in the development of the malware for infecting the PC networks worldwide, will likely be sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to committing the cybercrime. The Citadel malware was used by criminals to misappropriate as much as over $500 million from the bank accounts.

In December Mark Vartanyan, known online under the nickname of ‘Kolypto’, was extradited from Norway and this week pleaded guilty to charges in the court of Atlanta. The sentence will be brought in June this year.

Official information from the US authorities reveals that Citadel toolkit started circulating on the Russian speaking forums in 2011. The toolkit was offered for sale and eventually purchased by the cyber criminals and misused for infecting the networks of various financial and governmental bodies in different countries, including the United States.

Within years of circulation in the networks about 11 million PCs were infected by Citadel across the globe, resulting in $500 million stolen out of the pocket of account holders, as reported by the US Department of Justice.

Since 2012 Vartanyan lived in Ukraine and later in Norway, participating in the engineering, upgrading, maintenance and distribution of Citadel malware. Over the given period Vartanyan reportedly uploaded a lot of files for installing, updating and patching the malicious application.

In 2015 another person involved in the case was sentenced to four years and six months in prison after pleading guilty to computer fraud related to Citadel malware.

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