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Press Release

Russian Malware Developer Arrested And Extradited To The United States

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida

Tampa, Florida – United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces the arrest and extradition of Dariy Pankov a/k/a “dpxaker.” Pankov is charged with conspiracy, access device fraud, and computer fraud. If convicted on all counts, he faces a maximum penalty of 47 years in federal prison. The indictment also notifies Pankov that the United States intends to forfeit $358,437, which is alleged to be traceable to proceeds of the offenses.

Pankov, a citizen and resident of Russia, was taken into custody by Georgian authorities in the Republic of Georgia, on October 4, 2022, and extradited to the United States pursuant to a request from the United States. Pankov appeared before United States Magistrate Christopher P. Tuite on February 21, 2023, in Tampa, Florida and was ordered detained pending trial.

According to the indictment, Pankov developed a malicious software program named “NLBrute.” The powerful malware was capable of compromising protected computers by decrypting login credentials, such as passwords. Pankov used NLBrute to obtain the login credentials of tens of thousands of computers located all over the world. He marketed, sold, and had others sell on his behalf, NLBrute to other cybercriminals for a fee. Pankov sold the stolen login credentials on a dark web website that specialized in the purchase and sale of access to compromised computers. Once sold, those credentials were used to facilitate a wide range of illegal activity, including ransomware attacks and tax fraud. Pankov listed the credentials of more than 35,000 compromised computers for sale on the website, and obtained more than $350,000 in illicit proceeds.

An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.

This investigation was led by the Internal Revenue Service—Criminal Investigation, Tampa Field Office, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Tampa Field Office. Substantial assistance was provided by the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs and United States Marshals Service. This investigation also benefited from foreign law enforcement cooperation by the Georgian Prosecutor General’s Office, Ministry of Justice, and Ministry of Internal Affairs. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Carlton C. Gammons.


Updated February 22, 2023

Financial Fraud