Cyber-crime ring targeted U.S. bank accounts, feds say

A cyber-crime case brought by U.S. prosecutors in New York may add to the fears of anyone who banks online.

The charges against three foreign nationals -- a Russian, a Latvian and a Romanian -- allege they were involved in creating and distributing a computer virus that infected more than 40,000 computers in the United States in an effort to steal customers’ bank-account data and other information. The so-called Gozi virus led to the theft of unspecified millions of dollars, court documents say.

U.S. Atty. Preet Bharara, the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, is scheduled to hold a news conference Wednesday to discuss the case. In recent speeches and interviews, Bharara has sounded an alarm over growing cyber threats.


The virus initially was used to target European banks but starting in 2010 it was used to go after U.S. accounts, including some at a “large financial institution headquartered in Manhattan, according to court papers.

A Dutch computer server tied to the alleged scheme contained more than 3,000 user names for accounts at seven U.S. banks, prosecutors say.

The virus infected about 190 NASA computers between 2007 and 2012, court documents say. Extracted data allegedly included log-in information for a NASA email account, Web browsing histories and Google chat messages.

The alleged scheme is separate from an onslaught of cyber attacks last year against U.S. banking websites that were said to have been orchestrated by an online hacking group based in the Middle East.


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