The Russian cybercrime kingpin behind the Gameover Zeus malware network has been named as the FBI's most wanted cybercriminal with a $3m bounty on his head.
Evgeniy Bogachev is the criminal mastermind responsible for the theft of hundreds of millions of pounds globally using the Gameover Zeus malware network and pernicious Cryptolocker ransomware.
"We are announcing a reward for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of Evgeniy Bogachev, an alleged leader of a tightly knit gang of cyber-criminals based in Russia and Ukraine who were responsible for the development and operation of both the Gameover Zeus and Cryptolocker malware," assistant attorney general Leslie Caldwell said.
Bogachev is a 31-year-old shaven-headed Russian who was a celebrity on the underground cybercrime network by the time he was 25, using various monikers including Slavic, Monstr, IOO, lucky12345, Pollingsoon, and Nu11.
"Bogachev will one day face justice"
Bogachev's identity was revealed in 2014 following a two-and-a-half year FBI investigation which ended with Operation Tovar knocking the Gameover network offline.
"Although we were able to significantly disrupt the Gameover Zeus and Cryptolocker criminal enterprise, we have not yet brought Bogachev himself to justice," Caldwell said. "I am confident that Bogachev will one day be caught and brought to face justice in the United States."
Gameover Zeus is one of the most sophisticated and damaging botnets ever created and at its height infected up to one million Windows PCs around the world, stealing banking login credentials allowing Bogachev's criminal gang to cause over $100m worth of financial losses to businesses and individuals in the US alone according to the FBI.
Cryptolocker was among the first of a new wave of malware known as ransomware which infects computers, locks users out and encrypts the hard drive before demanding a ransom to unencrypt the data. It has infected more than 250,000 systems globally.
Boating on the Black Sea
Little is known about Bogachev. The Russian was born on the 28 October 1983 and before the take-down of Gameover, he ran a tightly knit group of Russian and Ukranian hackers.
According to the FBI, he has a postal address in the western Russian town of Anapa located on the northern coast of the Black Sea. With a population of around 60,000, the town is best known for being totally demolished by the Nazis during World War 2.
According to the detailed personal information listed on the FBI's most-wanted list, Bogachev is 5'9" in height, weighs about 180lbs, has brown eyes and has brown hair - though he typically keeps his head shaved.
The description goes on to say that Bogachev is known to enjoy boating and may travel to locations along the Black Sea coast. He also owns property in Krasnodar, which is in the same administrative areas as Anapa.
In the FBI's description of him on their most wanted list, Bogachev is said to work in the Information Technology field, which is likely an ironic addition by the FBI agents.