Russian Administrator of Bulletproof Hosting Sentenced to Prison in U.S.

A Russian national who founded and led a bulletproof hosting organization was sentenced to 60 months in prison in the United States.

The man, Aleksandr Grichishkin, 34, admitted in court earlier this year to being the leader of an organization that rented infrastructure — including domains, IP addresses, and servers — to cybercriminals.

The service was used for the distribution of malware, the creation of botnets, and the theft of banking credentials. Some of the disseminated malicious payloads included the Blackhole Exploit Kit, Citadel, SpyEye, and Zeus, which caused losses of millions of dollars to victims in the United States.

According to court documents, Grichishkin helped cybercriminals evade detection by law enforcement by monitoring websites used for blocking infrastructure used for nefarious purposes and by creating new infrastructure to move the “flagged” content to.

As the organization’s day-to-day leader, Grichishkin was involved in advertising the bulletproof hosting services on cybercrime forums and also set pricing, negotiated with clients, managed hires and compensations, and oversaw the work of administrators and employees.

He also instructed members of the organization on how to deal with abuse notices by migrating affected clients’ data to new domains and IP addresses.

Aleksandr Skorodumov, 33, of Lithuania, and Pavel Stassi, 30, of Estonia, two of Grichishkin’s co-conspirators, were sentenced earlier this year to 48 months and 24 months in prison, respectively.

A third co-conspirator, Andrei Skvortsov, 34, of Russia, co-founder of the bulletproof hosting service, is pending sentencing.

Related: Two Bulletproof Hosting Administrators Sentenced to Prison in U.S.

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Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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