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Ukrainian Hacker Pleads Guilty In Massive 'Botnet' Conspiracy 


A Ukrainian computer hacker accused of trying to frame a prominent cybersecurity expert has pleaded guilty to using more than 13,000 computers to steal log-in and credit-card data.

U.S. prosecutors said January 20 that Sergei Vovnenko faces a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in prison and may face additional prison time.

Prosecutors said Vovenko, whose aliases included "Flycracker," "Centurion" and "Darklife," was part of an international conspiracy to hack into computers belonging to individuals and companies between September 2010 and August 2012.

They said Vovnenko admitted to operating a "botnet" that used more than 13,000 computers that had been infected with malware to gain unauthorized access.

The group then used malware known as “Zeus” to steal banking information from and record keystrokes of people using infected computers.

Vovnenko was detained by Italian authorities following his June 13, 2014, arrest and had fought extradition.

At the time of the extradition, Brian Krebs, a well-known cybersecurity blogger, wrote that Vovnenko had been behind a 2013 plot to have heroin sent to Krebs' Virginia home, and then tell police when the drugs arrived.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP

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