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22-Year-Old Hacker Ran Botnet That Stole $4.5M

A graphic representation of how a botnet can be used to send spam.

Police have detained a 22-year-old hacker who created a system of networked computers that was used to steal more than 150 million rubles ($4.47 million) from people's bank accounts.

The cybercriminal targeted users of the "Bank Client" software with trojans, or malicious programs that can put the computer into a botnet.

Using the money gained from the scheme, the hacker, who went by the online pseudonyms "Hermes" and "Arashi," bought a luxurious house in a resort town of Russia and expensive cars and invested in legal enterprises, police said in a statement posted on their website.

In Greek mythology, Hermes is a god who was a divine ally of the Greeks in their war against the Trojans, a war won with the help of the Trojan horse artifice, from which the modern software takes its name.

Police from Division K, the cybercrime branch of the Interior Ministry, searched the hacker's place of residence, confiscating computers and arresting the suspect. The statement did not specify when the arrest was made.

The botnet built by the hacker included around 6 million computers from regions that included Krasnodar, Samara, and Ivanovo, as well as from the cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg, where the majority of the infected computers were located.

The network was used to spread programs that he then used to steal people's bank information, which allowed him and accomplices to steal more than 150 million rubles and transfer it to accounts under their control.

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