The U.S. Department of Justice has given Russian national Oleg Koshkin a two-year prison sentence for leading the operations of several websites that helped Kelihos malware and other ransomware strains evade antivirus software detection, ZDNet reports.
Koshkin's sites, including Crypt4U.com, Crypt4U.net, fud.re, and fud.bz, "provided a vital service to cybercriminals, allowing them to hide their malware from antivirus programs and use it to infect thousands of computers all over the world," said Acting U.S. Attorney Leonard Boyle.
In addition, the websites had been marketed using claims that they could be leveraged for malware distribution, according to the Justice Department.
The Justice Department added that Koshkin had helped Kelihos botnet operator Peter Levashov facilitate account credential harvesting, denial-of-service attacks, and ransomware distribution.
"According to evidence presented at Koshkin's sentencing, Kelihos relied on the crypting services provided by Crypt4U from 2014 until Levashov's arrest in April 2017, and just in the last four months of that conspiracy. Kelihos infected approximately 200,000 computers around the world," said the DOJ.
Ukraine has been targeted by Russian threat actors in the new Operation Texontodisinformation campaign that also involved spear-phishing and credential exfiltration tactics, according to The Hacker News.
Record high ransomware and data extortion incidents experienced by Western nations last year have prompted former National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers to call for a reevaluation of their cybersecurity defense strategy.