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US sentences Russian hacker to five years in prison
14:42, 20 July 2017
US sentences Russian hacker to five years in prison

Vartanyan will serve three years after spending two in pre-trial detention

14:42, 20 July 2017

Mark Vartanyan Facebook

A US court has sentenced Russian hacker Mark Vartanyan to five years in prison for designing a sophisticated form of malware that caused an estimated $500 million in damages in 2011, Radio Liberty reported.

Known by his online handle "Kolypto" Vartanyan was sentenced by District Court Judge Mark Cohen in Atlanta after pleading guilty in March to mass computer fraud in several countries.

According to investigators in both the US and Europe, Vartanyan played a key role in developing the malware - known as "Citadel". He later used the program to steal personal financial information from thousands of computers worldwide.

Vartanyan will serve three more years in prison after the court took into consideration the two years that he already spent in a Norwegian prison while awaiting extradition to the US in December 2016.

Intelligence agencies across Europe and the US have accused Moscow of using Russian hackers to attack personal computers and vital infrastructure facilities in an attempt to de-stabilize the Kremlin's perceived foes. 

Vartanyan has not been formally charged with having colluded with Russia's FSB security services, despite Ukraine's claims that the Russian government continues to employ hackers as agents in its on-going cyber war with the West.

Related: OSCE gives Ukrainian cyber police 194 units of counter-crime equipment

Related: Ukraine’s Education and Science Ministry reports cyber-attack on their website

Related: Russia is cyber threat, but there’s need to cooperate with Moscow, - White House

Related: Hackers linked to Russian government attacked Irish energy company, - The Times

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