Today: Wednesday, 29 May 2024 year

US businesses targeted by Ukrainian hackers for extortion

US businesses targeted by Ukrainian hackers for extortion

A source on the website of the National Ukrainian Police for the Cherkasy region has reported that the investigators of the Head Department of the National Police for the Cherkasy region are inspecting a criminal case based on article 361, part 2 (Unauthorized intervention in the functionality of electronical-computing machines (computers), automatized systems, computer networks or telecommunication networks) of Ukraine’s Criminal Code.

The investigation was initiated after the perpetrators blocked the functionality of hundreds of servers located in the US by DDOS attack.

The aim of the attack was to extort money from international online businesses. The attackers were exploiting hundreds of thousands of devices to generate 50 Mbit/sec traffic from unsuspecting users to victims` servers. The alleged criminals were heavily organized They operated in specialized groups  the first team infects computers, the second hunts for potential targets, and the third organizes the actual attacks, as well as negotiates with the potential victims. . The extortion amounts commonly varied from 1,000 to 10,000 US Dollars, while the cost of the attack is approximately 800 US Dollars a day.

The appeal was received from the US Company Stafford Associates a US corporation specializing in providing DATA centers and hosting services, and many of its customers. The victims of the attacks included online stores, payment system providers , online dating service sites, and currency exchange platforms. Steven Wang, an expert from the agency of investigation of cybercrime from a US-based firm, characterized the situation as follows:

“At the time being, this kind of crime is widespread in the world. One of the areas where cybercrime is significantly growing is the territory of Ukraine. To some culprits who extort money from businesses using threats of hacking and attacks, it seems as though they are acting with impunity. In practice, the investigations of such criminal activities worldwide do portray that such culprits are indeed held responsible in the end. These criminals are sentenced accordingly for this type of criminal activities and are locked in prison. The Ukrainian authorities are taking active measures in order to prevent any frailty in the legislation and to hold the culprits accountable for their actions. This will happen very soon.”

We have asked Vadim Ovcharenko, a Ukrainian lawyer who frequently handles such cases, for his own comments.

“Yes, such activities are more common nowadays. The victims of these criminal actions happen to be both small online businesses as well as large corporations. Apparently, clients do not intend to leave such cases not dealt with. More frequently, we meet clients who state: we will defend our interests in any case, and we will not allow the perpetrators to escape with impunity, having caused damages to our business.”

As a result, even the perpetrators begin to realize that they might be caught and held accountable.

PayOnline, a payment system provider, was one of the companies affected by the criminal activities in the Cherkasy case. Its lawyers are committed to see the case through to its very end.  Another victim was the  AnastasiaDate network of online dating sites. Its director, US citizen Lewis Ferro, stated that he is also personally follows the investigation of this case.

“The thing is, due to such criminal actions, many of our partners get affected along with us. We have over 500 partners in the territory of Ukraine, from small businesses to individual entrepreneurs, the work of which has ceased due to the criminal actions in question. They have suffered financially, and so, each of them demands the resolution to this issue.”

Investigative actions have already been carried out in regards to this case, and a possible group of suspects has been identified. Currently, all their electronic devices have been confiscated.. Certain necessary investigative actions continue to be implemented to determine the level of involvement of the alleged criminals Journalists discovered that the suspects were Ukrainian citizens Iatsenyuk Inna and Guy Grishnyak, living in Cherkasy and Lvov respectively. It is possible that they were involved in the organization of a series of attacks on tens, or even hundreds, of online businesses. The sanctions for such criminal violations include a fine from 600 to 1,000 non-taxable minimum incomes of the citizens, limitations in freedom for a period from 2 to 5 years, or full imprisonment for up to 3 years.