Cyber dragnet: Five new HACKERS join FBI's 'most wanted' list

'Operation Ghost Click' seeks its last fugitive


The US Federal Bureau of Investigation has added five new names to its "Cyber's Most Wanted" list, bringing the total number of fugitives urgently wanted in relation to computer and data-related crimes to 17.

"The FBI leads the national effort to investigate high-tech crimes, including cyber-based terrorism, espionage, computer intrusions, and major cyber fraud," bureau spokesman Richard McFeely said in a statement. "The expansion of the Cyber's Most Wanted list is a reflection of the FBI's increased efforts in this area."

One of the new inductees is Andrey Nabilevich Taame, a Russian national wanted for his alleged involvement with DNSChanger, a malware scam that infected some four million PCs between 2007 and 2011. Six other men were arrested in the FBI's 2011 DNSChanger sting – dubbed "Operation Ghost Click" – and at least one pleaded guilty earlier this year, but so far, Taame has avoided capture.

Two others added to the most-wanted list are Farhan Arshad and Noor Aziz Uddin, both Pakistani nationals who are wanted for allegedly hacking business telephone systems to make unauthorized calls, resulting in some $50m in losses to the affected companies. They're believed to be part of an international criminal conspiracy that included people not just in Pakistan, but in Italy, Malaysia, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, and elsewhere.

FBI's Cyber Most Wanted: Latest entries

Have you seen any of these men, in person or online?

There's also Carlos Enrique Perez-Melara, an El Salvadoran who allegedly ran a spyware-for-hire scheme out of an apartment in San Diego, California in 2003, but later fled to his home country.

The FBI is offering up to $50,000 for information leading to any of the above. (Perhaps you've seen them on Google+ – or Chatroulette?)

And then there's Alexsey Belan, another Russian. He's wanted for allegedly "remotely accessing the computer networks of three U.S.-based companies in 2012 and 2013 and stealing sensitive data as well as employees' identities." The FBI hasn't named the companies in question, but they're said to be based in Nevada and California.

Wanted since 2012, Belan is apparently a wily sort. He's known to use aliases, wear disguises, and hop around between Greece, Latvia, the Maldives, Russia, and Thailand. Maybe for that reason – or maybe for the seriousness of his alleged crimes – the FBI will pay up to $100,000 for information on his whereabouts.

The five join an illustrious list of fugitives, including among others Artem Semenov, wanted for his alleged involvement in the Zeus Trojan scam; Peteris Sahurovs, who was briefly arrested in a scareware sting in 2011 but apparently escaped; Bjorn Daniel Sundin and Shaileshkumar P. Jain, both sought for their alleged involvement with another scareware scam; and Alexandr Bobnev, wanted in connection with an online banking fraud scheme.

"Throughout its history, the FBI has depended on the public's help and support to bring criminals to justice. That was true in the gangster era, and it's just as true in the cyber era," McFeely said. "We need the public's help to catch these individuals who have made it their mission to spy on and steal from our nation and our citizens."

People with knowledge of the whereabouts of anyone on the FBI's list are asked to contact their local FBI branch office or submit a tip online. ®

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • Battlefield 2042: Please don't be the death knell of the franchise, please don't be the death knell of the franchise

    Another terrible launch, but DICE is already working on improvements

    The RPG Greetings, traveller, and welcome back to The Register Plays Games, our monthly gaming column. Since the last edition on New World, we hit level cap and the "endgame". Around this time, item duping exploits became rife and every attempt Amazon Games made to fix it just broke something else. The post-level 60 "watermark" system for gear drops is also infuriating and tedious, but not something we were able to address in the column. So bear these things in mind if you were ever tempted. On that note, it's time to look at another newly released shit show – Battlefield 2042.

    I wanted to love Battlefield 2042, I really did. After the bum note of the first-person shooter (FPS) franchise's return to Second World War theatres with Battlefield V (2018), I stupidly assumed the next entry from EA-owned Swedish developer DICE would be a return to form. I was wrong.

    The multiplayer military FPS market is dominated by two forces: Activision's Call of Duty (COD) series and EA's Battlefield. Fans of each franchise are loyal to the point of zealotry with little crossover between player bases. Here's where I stand: COD jumped the shark with Modern Warfare 2 in 2009. It's flip-flopped from WW2 to present-day combat and back again, tried sci-fi, and even the Battle Royale trend with the free-to-play Call of Duty: Warzone (2020), which has been thoroughly ruined by hackers and developer inaction.

    Continue reading
  • American diplomats' iPhones reportedly compromised by NSO Group intrusion software

    Reuters claims nine State Department employees outside the US had their devices hacked

    The Apple iPhones of at least nine US State Department officials were compromised by an unidentified entity using NSO Group's Pegasus spyware, according to a report published Friday by Reuters.

    NSO Group in an email to The Register said it has blocked an unnamed customers' access to its system upon receiving an inquiry about the incident but has yet to confirm whether its software was involved.

    "Once the inquiry was received, and before any investigation under our compliance policy, we have decided to immediately terminate relevant customers’ access to the system, due to the severity of the allegations," an NSO spokesperson told The Register in an email. "To this point, we haven’t received any information nor the phone numbers, nor any indication that NSO’s tools were used in this case."

    Continue reading
  • Utility biz Delta-Montrose Electric Association loses billing capability and two decades of records after cyber attack

    All together now - R, A, N, S, O...

    A US utility company based in Colorado was hit by a ransomware attack in November that wiped out two decades' worth of records and knocked out billing systems that won't be restored until next week at the earliest.

    The attack was detailed by the Delta-Montrose Electric Association (DMEA) in a post on its website explaining that current customers won't be penalised for being unable to pay their bills because of the incident.

    "We are a victim of a malicious cyber security attack. In the middle of an investigation, that is as far as I’m willing to go," DMEA chief exec Alyssa Clemsen Roberts told a public board meeting, as reported by a local paper.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021