The Department of Justice (DoJ) announced earlier this month that a Federal judge sentenced Aleksandr Brovko, a Russian national, to eight years in prison for his role in a botnet scheme that resulted in an estimated loss of over $100 million.

Brovko pled guilty to conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud back in February. In a statement, the DoJ said Brovko was an active member of several elite, online forums designed for Russian-speaking cybercriminals to gather and exchange their criminal tools and services.

“Aleksandr Brovko used his programming skills to facilitate the large-scale theft and use of stolen personal and financial information, resulting in over $100 million in intended loss,” said U.S. Attorney G. Zachary Terwilliger for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Our office is committed to holding these criminals accountable and protecting our communities as cybercrime becomes an ever more prominent threat.”

According to court documents, from 2007 through 2019, Brovko worked with other cybercriminals to monetize vast troves of data that had been stolen by botnets. Specifically, the DoJ said that Brovko wrote software scripts to parse botnet logs and performed extensive manual searches of the data in order to extract easily monetized information, such as personally identifiable information and online banking credentials.

Additionally, Brovko worked to verify the validity of stolen account credentials, as well as determine if the compromised financial accounts had enough funds to make it worthwhile to attempt to use the accounts to conduct fraudulent transactions. Over the course of the scheme, Brovko possessed and trafficked over 200,000 unauthorized access devices.

Brovko was arrested in the Czech Republic in October 2019, and was extradited to the United States in December of the same year.

“For over a decade, Brovko participated in a scheme to gain access to Americans’ personal and financial information, causing more than $100 million in intended loss,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.  “This prosecution and the sentence imposed show the department’s commitment to work with our international and state counterparts to bring cybercriminals to justice no matter where they are located.”

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk's Assistant Copy & Production Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.