Among the dozens of Russians punished this week by the Obama administration over election-related hacking, the FBI has pegged two as cybercriminals among the most wanted on the planet.
The cyber pros, not specifically tied to election hacking, appeared to specialize in fraud, according to the feds. They were identified as 29-year-old Alexsey Belan — known online as “Abyrvaig” and “Fedyunya” — and 33-year-old Yevgeny Bogachev — AKA “lucky12345″ and “slavik.” The Russian nationals’ specific whereabouts are unknown, according to the feds. Combined, their cyberactivity hit victims in the U.S. and abroad costing them more than $100 million, the FBI reported.
The sanctions against both men, freeezing all their assets in the U.S. and making it illegal to do business with them, were among a series of penalties imposed by the Obama administration on Thursday. The U.S. also moved to kick out 35 Russian intelligence operatives from two U.S. compounds. The Russians were declared “persona non grata” and given 72 hours to leave the country.
Obama sanctioned two Russian intelligence services, the GRU and the FSB, plus companies which the U.S. claimed supported the GRU. The cybersecurity firm hired by the Democratic National Committee to investigate theft of its emails determined earlier this year the hacking came from the Fancy Bear group, believed to be affiliated with the GRU, the Russian military intelligence agency. The FSB is the main successor to the Soviet-era KGB.
“All Americans should be alarmed by Russia’s actions,” Obama said, adding, “Such activities have consequences.” The president also sanctioned GRU chief Igor Korobov and three of his deputies.
Photos of Belan showed him with blond and red hair — which the feds said were dye jobs. They said he was last known to be in Greece, but may travel to Russia, Latvia, the Maldives and Thailand.
Bogachev — often seen with a shaved head — would travel to spots along the Black Sea in his boat, according to investigators. They said he was last known to live in Anapa, Russia — along the sea — but also owns property in Krasnodar, east of there.
The FBI pinpointed Belan’s crimes to breaches of three U.S.-based e-commerce firms between 2012 and 2013 in California and Nevada. The feds said he stole data from millions of accounts — including encrypted passwords — before offering to sell them.
As for Bogachev, he allegedly created malicious software — or malware — known as “Zeus” to snake into computers, swiping online banking account data as early as 2009. A version of the malware known as “GameOver Zeus” sparked more than a million computer infections, according to the FBI.
The bureau is offering up to $100,000 for information leading to Belan’s arrest — and a whopping $3 million for Bogachev.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.