A Russian hacker has been ordered to pay some $6.9 (about RM27 million) million in damages and restitution for stealing millions of dollars from banks. Nikita Kuzmin, the person responsible for the ‘Gozi’ virus, has already served 37 months in prison after pleading guilty to the US justice system, but has been allowed to pay the fine instead being imprisoned for cooperating with law enforcement.
The Gozi malware hid in trapped pdfs, and allowing Kuzmin to collect information from his victims. The target was mainly online banking information that would allow him to siphon funds away without being noticed. This resulted in Kuzmin accumulating tens of millions of US dollars worth of currency before he was arrested.
Kuzmin also rented out his creation to other criminals, allowing them to benefit from his work. The reported cost to rent Gozi was only $500 (about RM2000) a week, which wasn’t quite as lucrative as simply stealing the money on his own.
It is unknown what assistance Kuzmin lent to the US Department of Justice as the explanation has been sealed by the court. However, it is apparently worth enough to reduce the recommended 84 month prison sentence to time already served plus restitution.
This is probably the best possible outcome for Kuzmin, considering that he has already spent several million stolen dollars on expensive holidays and sports cars. The former hacker’s attorney issued as statement saying that Kuzmin is glad for the ordeal to be over and is now moving on to the next stage in life.