Recent news of about the three Europeans namely Nikita Kuzmin of Russia, Mihai Ionut Paunescu of Romania and Deniss Calovskis of Latvia charged with using Gozi virus used to steal millions of dollars from banks around the world has caught our attention. But we would ask ourselves, how did the Gozi virus cause this much theft?
The Gozi virus is also considered a Trojan. Just like any other Trojan virus, users would receive this virus through emails containing fraudulent links, PDF attachment or perhaps through fake banking websites. More information about the Gozi virus as well as those arrested, please visit the FBI Gozi Virus Press Release.
By accessing the link or logging on to these websites, they have enabled the virus to steal vital banking information such as usernames, passwords and bank account numbers. Then information collected was used to access the user’s account and take out cash.
The Gozi virus infected over one million computers and stole tens of millions of dollars.
It was Kuzmin who was considered the brains of Gozi virus. On 2005, he hired a programmer to create the code of the virus. Calovski assisted by adding some features to the virus such as collecting additional information such as date of birth and social security number.
The former sold the code to hackers. And lastly, Paunescu was supposedly provided with a web hosting to cloak the hackers from being exposed to the authorities. Though its conception has started on 2005, the virus was only discovered on 2007.
Later on, it was discovered that there were certain hackers who asked for the source code so they can use to attack U.S. computers. By then, 1 million computers including 40,000 in the US have been affected.
The capture of the three cybercriminals does not mean we can already relax. We must be constantly reminded that there are still a lot of hackers out there who gained access to Gozi virus’ code. This event should make us more vigilant and careful with regards to the security measures when using computers. Calovskis and Paunescu are currently awaiting extradition to the US.