Russian Hacker Who Used Neverquest Malware To Steal Money From Victims’ Bank Accounts Pleads Guilty In Manhattan Federal Court
Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced that STANISLAV VITALIYEVICH LISOV, a/k/a “Black,” a/k/a “Blackf” (“LISOV”), pled guilty today to conspiring to deploy and use a type of malicious software known as NeverQuest to infect the computers of unwitting victims, steal their login information for online banking accounts, and use that information to steal money out of the victims’ accounts. NeverQuest has been responsible for millions of dollars’ worth of attempts by hackers to steal money out of victims’ bank accounts. LISOV pled guilty before United States District Judge Valerie E. Caproni.
U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said: “As he admitted today, Stanislav Vitaliyevich Lisov used malware to infect victims’ computers, obtain their login credentials for online banking accounts, and steal money out of their accounts. This type of cybercrime extends across borders, poses a malicious threat to personal privacy, and causes widespread financial harm. For his audacious crime, this Russian hacker now faces justice in an American court.”
FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. said: “'In addition to creating and maintaining a botnet infected with NeverQuest malware, Stanislav Lisov, a Russian national, gathered personally identifiable information of NeverQuest victims and discussed illegally trafficking that information. As today's plea should demonstrate, the FBI and our partners will continue to bring these actors to justice, regardless of where they may hide.”
According to the Indictment, Complaint, and other statements made during public court proceedings:
NeverQuest is a type of malicious software, or malware, known as a banking Trojan. It can be introduced to victims’ computers through social media websites, phishing emails, or file transfers. Once surreptitiously installed on a victim’s computer, NeverQuest is able to identify when a victim attempts to log onto an online banking website and transfer the victim’s login credentials – including his or her username and password – back to a computer server used to administer the NeverQuest malware. Once surreptitiously installed, NeverQuest enables its administrators remotely to control a victim’s computer and log into the victim’s online banking or other financial accounts, transfer money to other accounts, change login credentials, write online checks, and purchase goods from online vendors.
Between June 2012 and January 2015, LISOV was responsible for key aspects of the creation and administration of a network of victim computers known as a “botnet” that was infected with NeverQuest. Among other things, LISOV maintained infrastructure for this criminal enterprise, including by renting and paying for computer servers used to manage the botnet that had been compromised by NeverQuest. Those computer servers contained lists of millions of stolen login credentials – including usernames, passwords, and security questions and answers – for victims’ accounts on banking and other financial websites. LISOV had administrative-level access to those computer servers.
LISOV also personally harvested login information from unwitting victims of the NeverQuest malware, including usernames, passwords, and security questions and answers. In addition, LISOV discussed trafficking in stolen login information and personally identifiable information of victims.
On January 13, 2017, LISOV was arrested in Spain pursuant to a provisional arrest warrant. On January 19, 2018, LISOV was extradited from Spain to the United States.
* * *
LISOV, 33, a citizen of Russia, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit computer hacking, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. The statutory maximum sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge. LISOV’s sentencing is scheduled for June 27, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. before Judge Caproni.
Mr. Berman praised the outstanding investigative efforts of the FBI. Mr. Berman also thanked the DOJ Office of International Affairs for its assistance in this case.
The matter is being handled by the Office’s Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael D. Neff is in charge of the prosecution.