DOJ extradites Ukrainian man who used a botnet to decrypt login credentials

Botnet on a red background

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has extradited a Ukrainian man for allegedly accessing thousands of devices and trafficking passwords.

Glib Oleksandr Ivanov-Tolpintsev, a 28-year-old from Chernivtsi, Ukraine, operated a botnet of computers after they were infected with malware and controlled them without the user’s knowledge, according to a statement by the US Attorney's Office.

The devices were then used to guess login passwords belonging to users worldwide.

“During the course of the conspiracy, Ivanov-Tolpintsev stated that his botnet was capable of decrypting the login credentials of at least 2,000 computers every week,” the DOJ said.

Ivanov-Tolpintsev, using the aliases “sergios” and “mars” then sold these credentials on a dark web website that specializes in buying and selling access to compromised computers. Once sold on this website, hackers used the keys to perform many illegal activities, including tax fraud and ransomware attacks.

Ivanov-Tolpintsev listed over 6,000 compromised computers for sale on the marketplace and generated over $80,000 in illicit proceeds.

The indictment alleges Ivanov-Tolpintsev asked a dark web marketplace if it was accepting sellers of login credentials from compromised computers in May 2016.

By April 2017, Ivanov-Tolpintse had collected the login credentials of 20,000 compromised computers. The formal accusation noted that he sold credentials of victims from Colorado, California, Florida, and Maryland.


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To bring in Ivanov-Tolpintsev, the DOJ had to subpoena emails from Google to find out the attacker’s real name and a Jabber address he used to contact the Marketplace representatives.

Ivanov-Tolpintsev was arrested in Poland in October 2020 and extradited to the US. The investigation was carried out with assistance from the Polish National Police, the Polish Prosecutor’s Office, and the Polish Ministry of Justice.

The Ukrainian appeared in a downtown court in Florida on Tuesday before US Magistrate Julie Sneed, who ordered his arrest pending trial. He is facing charges of conspiracy, trafficking in unauthorized access devices, and trafficking in computer passwords. If convicted of all charges, the Ukrainian faces up to a 17-year sentence in an American prison. Assistant United States Attorney Carlton C. Gammons will prosecute the case.

The prosecution also notified Ivanov-Tolpintsev that the US intends to seize over $82,000, which can allegedly be attributed to the proceeds of crimes.

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.