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FBI On The $4.2M Hunt For Hackers

In a digital-age twist on public enemies, the FBI is offering hefty rewards for information that leads to the arrest of five of the most wanted cybercriminals in the nation.

The Washington Post reported Tuesday (June 30) that these five are directly responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars in losses sustained by targets of fraud, and the FBI is offering $4.2 million as a reward for helping to bring them to justice.

Recent cybersecurity breaches have hit entities as disparate as retailers, health insurers and even the U.S. government, poaching data on millions of people. The hackers sought by the FBI have been tied to theft of sensitive data including health care, employment and banking information. In other cases they have persuaded victims to pay a ransom to regain control of their computers or devices and have even been accused of running “fake” online auctions, according to The Post.

Of those five wanted by the Bureau, the arrest of Evgeniy Mikhailovich Bogachev, now believed to be in Russia, would fetch a $3 million reward. He is the force behind ZeuS, the so-called “Trojan horse” that pockets financial data ranging from bank accounts to security passwords. His actions and hacking have taken $100 million from banks through the past six years, The Post reported.

Second on the list, with a $1 million bounty, is Nicolae Popescu. The FBI alleges that he ran fake auctions for automobiles on sites, such as Cars.com and AutoTrader, yet the vehicles he sold were nonexistent. Popescu and peers made $3 million from the scam, according to the FBI, and Popescu is possibly in Romania.

Another hacker criminal on the FBI’s list is Alexsey Belan with a $100,000 reward; authorities say he stole data in Nevada and California from three eCommerce sites and now is selling that data on the black market. Then there is Peteris Sahurovs, who, disguised as a fake hotel chain, used malware in ads sold to various sites. Then he ransomed the computers he locked or flooded with pop-ups, and he netted $2 million in the process.

Finally, there’s a lone American on the list, and he commands a $50,000 bounty. Shaileshkumar “Sam” Jain, the FBI says, made $100 million between 2006 and 2008 by luring computer users into buying fake software designed to combat the very flood of pop-up ads he in fact unleashed in the first place.

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