Evgeniy Mikhailovich Bogachev, once described by a cybersecurity expert as the "most prolific bank robber in the world," ended up on a different list altogether in December: as one of the individuals noted in then-President Obama's sanctions against Russia for trying to influence the election. As Garrett M. Graff explains in his Wired piece, Bogachev is an FBI "most wanted" poster boy who developed a malware "masterpiece" under the screen name "Slavik," known for pulling off extensive financial transgressions around the globe. Now, however, Bogachev has become known as his homeland's "most notorious hacker," and he's still on the loose, despite the US government's multi-year battle to flush him out and haul him in. Graff's article details how Bogachev was constantly able to elude authorities where others couldn't, from the early days of the malware and ransomware projects he ran to the present.
It also reveals the FBI's unceasing efforts to take down the botnet-driven schemes, a probe that eventually uncovered Slavik's real identity (Bogachev) and that he'd moved on from banks to government "espionage commands." The FBI finally launched Bogachev's day of reckoning: May 30, 2014, when the feds would take down his whole operation. It was an "amazing" day of "cyber-hand-to-hand combat," one witness, a Pittsburgh US attorney, says of the attack, which was a success. Bogachev, however—named on Obama's sanctions list not for election hacking (the US government doesn't think he was) but to pressure Russia to turn him over in "good faith"—may never be caught. "Bogachev and other Russian cybercriminals lie pretty far beyond America's reach," Graff laments. More on this thrilling cybercrime story at Wired. (A Hollywood hospital paid a computer ransom to hackers.)