Mastermind behind Ebury malware gets 46 months in prison, US court rules

41 year-old Russian national Maxim Senakh was sentenced to 46 months in prison by a US federal court in Minnesota, after pleading guilty in May for developing and managing a Linux botnet using Ebury malware. Senakh was arrested in 2015 in Finland and extradited to the US to await trial for wire fraud and violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

“Working within a massive criminal enterprise, Maxim Senakh helped create a sophisticated infrastructure that victimized thousands of Internet users across the world,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Brooker.  “As society becomes more reliant on computers, cybercriminals like Senakh pose a serious threat. This Office, along with our law enforcement partners, are committed to detecting and prosecuting cybercriminals no matter where they reside.”

Ebury, an SSH backdoor Trojan created specifically for Linux, FreeSBD and Solaris, was detected in 2011, after infecting the Linux Foundation and the Linux Kernel Organization’s kernel.org. The backdoor allowed Senakh and his co-conspirators to have complete control over the infected devices, regardless of regular password updates.

The malware was used to send 35 million spam emails to 25,000 servers across the world, to infect them and turn them into a botnet used for illicit gains through advertising click fraud. On a daily basis, it redirected over 500,000 users to exploit kits.

“The defendant and his co-conspirators sought to turn a network of thousands of infected computers in the United States and around the world into their personal cash machines,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Blanco. “But cybercriminals like Mr. Senakh should take heed: they are not immune from U.S. prosecution just because they operate from afar or behind a veil of technology.  We have the ability and the determination to identify them, find them, and bring them to justice.”

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