12:29 GMT +316 October 2019
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    Russian National Extradited to US for Allegedly Developing Malware Toolkit - DOJ

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    Russian national Mark Vartanyan was extradited to the US and arranged in federal court where he has been charged with one count of computer fraud, the Justice Department said on Tuesday.

    "Vartanyan, also known as 'Kolypto'…allegedly developed, improved, and maintained the pernicious 'Citadel' malware toolkit, was arraigned in federal court following his extradition from Norway in December 2016," the DOJ noted. The defendent allegedly uploaded four dozen files essential for Citadel to operate.

    The Justice Department explained that Citadel was designed to infect computer systems and steal financial account credentials and personal information.

    Users of Citadel targeted and exploited the computer network of major financial and government institutions around the world, including several institutions the United States, the release noted.

    The malware program infected an estimated 11 million computers worldwide and is responsible for more than $500 million in losses, the release also said.

    Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, said extradition to the US by third-party countries is unacceptable, referring to Vartanyan's case, a US-Russian citizen who has been detained since 2014 at the request of the US for alleged computer crimes.

    The DOJ's decision implies that Norway has turned a blind eye and ignored the international law, Zakharova has said. In November, the spokeswoman said the Oslo's decision to extradite Vartanyan hed been politicized.

    In recent months, the US intelligence community has launched a full-fledged assault that the US was 'hacked' by the Russians. But the report produced circumstantial evidence that did not amount to the definitive evidence required to warrant such bold claims. For instance, 43 percent of the suspicious IP addresses used by 'Russian hackers' were simplyTor exit nodes.

    Bill Binney, a 35-year NSA veteran-turned-whistleblower, conclude that the 'hacking' was actually an internal leak, citing the lack of smoking gun evidence. 


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