Russian Cybercriminal Sentenced to Prison for Role in $100 Million Botnet Conspiracy

A Russian national was sentenced on October 30 to eight years in prison for his role in operating a sophisticated scheme to steal and traffic sensitive personal and financial information in the online criminal underground that resulted in an estimated loss of over $100 million.

Aleksandr Brovko, 36, formerly of the Czech Republic, pleaded guilty in February to conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud. According to court documents, Brovko was an active member of several elite, online forums designed for Russian-speaking cybercriminals to gather and exchange their criminal tools and services. 

“For over a decade, Brovko participated in a scheme to gain access to Americans’ personal and financial information, causing more than $100 million in intended loss,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.  “This prosecution and the sentence imposed show the department’s commitment to work with our international and state counterparts to bring cybercriminals to justice no matter where they are located.”

As reflected in court documents, from 2007 through 2019, Brovko worked closely with other cybercriminals to monetize vast troves of data that had been stolen by “botnets,” or networks of infected computers. Brovko, in particular, wrote software scripts to parse botnet logs and performed extensive manual searches of the data in order to extract easily monetized information, such as personally identifiable information and online banking credentials. Brovko also verified the validity of stolen account credentials, and even assessed whether compromised financial accounts had enough funds to make it worthwhile to attempt to use the accounts to conduct fraudulent transactions. 

According to court documents, Brovko possessed and trafficked over 200,000 unauthorized access devices during the course of the conspiracy. These access devices consisted of either personally identifying information or financial account details. Under the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, the estimated intended loss in this case has been calculated as exceeding $100 million.

Read more at the Department of Justice

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