As part of a crackdown on fugitive hackers, the FBI has added more digital racketeers to the decades-old Most Wanted program and upped the ante for their arrest. The cybercriminal category, consequently, now has its own Top 10 list, FBI officials announced this week.
The gangsters of Cyber's Most Wanted are more diverse than those that mixed with former Most Wanted mainstay James "Whitey" Bulger, Irish godfather of Boston. The list, along with rewards for turning in the hustlers, offers a window into the global evolution of cybercrime:
- Alexsey Belan stands accused of penetrating the computer networks of three U.S.-based companies to steal sensitive databases and employee identities. He then profited from sales of the purloined user data and passwords. ($100,000)
- Farhan Arshad and Noor Aziz Uddin allegedly hacked into business telephone systems worldwide, causing losses of more than $50 million for the phone companies and other organizations. ($50,000 each)
- Carlos Perez-Melara operated a private investigator website that purported to offer jilted clients a way to catch cheating significant others. The service sent suspected cheaters a greeting card containing spyware. The surveillance software “collected keystrokes and other incoming and outgoing electronic communications” and, true to its claims, would “periodically send email messages back to the purchasers of the service,” containing the cheaters’ passwords, browsing histories, intercepted messages, and keystroke logs. ($50,000)
- Andrey Nabilevich Taame allegedly was involved in Operation Ghost Click, a malware distribution scheme that redirected infected computers to fraudulent websites. The ruse hijacked more than 4 million computers in more than 100 countries. ($50,000)
- Peteris Sahurovs is accused of selling poisonous cybersecurity programs that scammed Internet users out of more than $2 million. In one case, he took out an ad in an online newspaper that was really malware, which infected visitors on the news site and forced them to buy $49.95 antivirus software to regain control of their computers. ($50,000)
- Shaileshkumar P. Jain robbed Internet users in more than 60 countries of $100 million through the sale of bogus software products. This was a "scareware" scheme similar to the Sahurovs incident. ($20,000)
- Bjorn Daniel Sundin was one of Jain's partners. ($20,000)
- Artem Semenov is wanted for participating in an Eastern European cybercrime ring with operations in New York. The group recruits "money mules" to open bank accounts, cash out unauthorized money transfers, and then wire the money overseas.($50,000)
- Alexandr Sergeyevich Bobnev allegedly broke into the accounts of a major investment services firm and transferred funds out of accounts to money mules in the United States. The mules then had to transfer the money back to him.($50,000)
"The expansion of the Cyber’s Most Wanted list is a reflection of the FBI’s increased efforts in this area," FBI officials said in a statement.
A recent capture that grabbed global attention was that of Lauri Love, 28, who allegedly confiscated massive amounts of personal data on U.S. military members so he could "disrupt" government operations.
The FBI and Army Criminal Investigation Command led a probe into his dealings. The U.K. National Crime Agency then arrested Love in connection with another ongoing investigation.
The young Brit was a high-profile activist in the Scottish Occupy movement that caught on worldwide in 2011, according to the Daily Mail.