Russian Man Extradited to U.S. for Role in TrickBot Malware Development

A Russian national has been extradited from South Korea to the United States to face charges for his alleged role in the cybercriminal organization behind the TrickBot malware.

The man, Vladimir Dunaev, 38, allegedly was part of the TrickBot group from November 2015 through August 2020, stealing money and information and damaging the computers of financial institutions, school districts, government entities, private businesses, and utility companies, court documents reveal.

The TrickBot group allegedly used “a network of co-conspirators and freelance computer programmers” to develop, deliver, and maintain TrickBot. Millions of computers globally have been infected with the Trojan, the indictment claims.

According to the U.S. Justice Department, Dunaev worked as a developer for the cybercrime group in various roles, such as supervising the malware execution, building browser modifications, and helping with hiding the malware from security software.

TrickBot was created to capture online banking credentials and other sensitive information, such as credit card numbers, dates of birth, emails, passwords, social security numbers, and more. More recent versions of the malware were designed to help distribute ransomware.

The indictment alleges that the TrickBot operators used the stolen credentials and other personal data to access victims’ online bank accounts, make unauthorized transfers, and to launder money.

Dunaev is charged with aggravated identity theft, wire fraud, bank fraud, conspiracy to commit computer fraud, and money laundering, among others. If convicted on all counts, he faces up to 60 years in prison.

TrickBot, which has been around since 2016, is believed to be operated by the same cybercriminal organization that operated the Dyre Trojan.

In October 2020, Microsoft announced an operation aimed at taking down TrickBot, but the malware managed to survive the attempt and even received several updates after. In March, CISA and the FBI warned of continuous attacks employing TrickBot.

In June, U.S. authorities announced charges against a Latvian woman who allegedly also helped develop TrickBot.

Related: TrickBot Gets Updated to Survive Takedown Attempts

Related: Supermicro, Pulse Secure Respond to Trickbot’s Ability to Target Firmware

Related: Five Months After Takedown Attempt, CISA and FBI Warn of Ongoing TrickBot Attacks

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Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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