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Russian national sentenced for involvement in development and deployment of trickbot malware

Press releases may be edited for formatting or style | January 30, 2024 Cyber Security Health IT
A Russian national was sentenced yesterday to five years and four months in prison for his involvement in developing and deploying the malicious software known as Trickbot, which was used to launch cyberattacks against American hospitals and other businesses.

According to court documents and public reporting, Vladimir Dunaev, 40, of Amur Oblast, Russia, provided specialized services and technical abilities in furtherance of the Trickbot scheme. Trickbot, which was taken down in 2022, was a suite of malware tools designed to steal money and facilitate the installation of ransomware. Hospitals, schools, and businesses were among the millions of Trickbot victims who suffered tens of millions of dollars in losses. While active, Trickbot malware, which acted as an initial intrusion vector into victim computer systems, was used to support various ransomware variants.

“This sentencing demonstrates the department’s ability to place cybercriminals behind bars, no matter where they are located,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “In cooperation with our partners around the world, we will continue to bring cybercriminals to justice.”

“Dunaev developed malicious ransomware and deployed it to attack American hospitals, schools, and businesses in the Northern District of Ohio and throughout our country, all while hiding behind his computer,” said U.S. Attorney Rebecca C. Lutzko for the Northern District of Ohio. “He and his co-defendants caused immeasurable disruption and financial damage, maliciously infecting millions of computers worldwide, and Dunaev will now spend over five years behind bars as a result. Dunaev’s case demonstrates that the Justice Department and our office will use all available resources to investigate and prosecute cybercrime, and we thank our international partners for their cooperation in helping us stop cybercriminals like Dunaev and bring them to justice.”

Dunaev developed browser modifications and malicious tools that aided in credential harvesting and datamining from infected computers, facilitated and enhanced the remote access used by Trickbot actors, and created a program code to prevent the Trickbot malware from being detected by legitimate security software. During Dunaev’s participation in the scheme, 10 victims in the Northern District of Ohio, including Avon schools and a North Canton real-estate company, were defrauded of more than $3.4 million via ransomware deployed by Trickbot.

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