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Russian Man Gets Five Years In Jail For Role In $500 Million Malware Scheme

Illustrative photo
Illustrative photo

A Russian man who U.S. prosecutors say played a role in developing sophisticated malware used to steal financial information from thousands of computers worldwide was sentenced on July 19 to five years in prison.

Mark Vartanyan, known online as "Kolypto," was sentenced by a U.S. District Court in Atlanta after pleading guilty in March to computer fraud.

The sentence includes credit for about two years that Vartanyan spent in Norwegian custody before he was extradited to the United States in December.

Prosecutors said that Vartanyan from 2012 to 2014 while living in the Ukraine and Norway helped develop, improve, and maintain Citadel software, which was designed to steal financial and personal information from computer networks.

Prosecutors said that Citadel infected about 11 million computers worldwide and caused over $500 million in losses.

Vartanyan was the second person to be sentenced in connection with the investigation of Citadel malware.

In 2015, Dimitry Belorossov, a Russian national who prosecutors said distributed and installed Citadel onto computers, was sentenced to 4-/12 years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiring to commit computer fraud.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters