COURT DOC: Russian Citizen who Helped Develop the “Citadel” Malware Toolkit is Sentenced

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March 14, 2017

Mark Vartanyan, also known as ‘Kolypto,’ was sentenced today by United States District Court Judge Mark H. Cohen to serve five years in federal prison, following his guilty plea in connection with his role in developing, improving and maintaining the ‘Citadel’ malware toolkit between 2012 and 2014.

‘Citadel’ is a malware toolkit designed to infect computer systems and steal financial account credentials and personally identifiable information from victim computer networks. Beginning in or about 2011, Citadel was offered for sale on invite-only, Russian-language internet forums frequented by cybercriminals. Users of Citadel targeted and exploited the computer networks of major financial and government institutions around the world, including several financial institutions in the United States. According to industry estimates, Citadel infected approximately 11 million computers worldwide and is responsible for over $500 million in losses.

Between on or about August 21, 2012 and January 9, 2013, while residing in Ukraine, and again between on or about April 9, 2014 and June 2, 2014, while residing in Norway, Vartanyan engaged in the development, improvement, maintenance and distribution of Citadel. During these periods, Vartanyan uploaded numerous electronic files that consisted of Citadel malware, components, updates and patches, as well as customer information, all with the intent of improving Citadels illicit functionality.

Vartanyan, a Russian national, was extradited from Norway to face charges in the United States in December 2016. He pled guilty to computer fraud on March 20, 2017. (Source: U.S. Department of Justice)

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