Russian hacker Dariy Pankov has pleaded guilty to computer fraud and now faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. Pankov, who was extradited from Georgia, was charged with developing and selling the NLBrute malware, which cybercriminals widely used to obtain login credentials.
Furthermore, as part of a plea deal, he will forfeit $358,437, representing the proceeds of his criminal activities, which the Justice Department estimated to be at least $350,000 between 2016 and 2019. Pankov was accused of marketing and selling NLBrute to other cybercriminals, who used the stolen login credentials for illegal activities, including ransomware attacks and tax fraud.
Additionally, Pankov’s criminal activities involved using NLBrute to acquire login credentials from tens of thousands of computers globally. He operated on the dark web, where he listed the credentials of more than 35,000 compromised computers for sale.
These actions facilitated various illegal activities, with the illicit proceeds exceeding $350,000. Pankov, a Russian citizen, was apprehended in Georgia in October 2022 and subsequently extradited to the United States to face the charges.
This case highlights international efforts to combat cybercrime, with Pankov’s extradition serving as a significant step in bringing him to justice for his role in developing and distributing malicious software used in cyberattacks.