Russian in US gets five years in prison for providing hosting services to criminals

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A Russian man was sentenced on Wednesday to five years in prison for providing hosting services for cybercriminals between 2009 and 2015. The services were used to spread malware, mainly in the United States.

Aleksandr Grichishkin, 34, was the founder and leader of a hosting company that leased Internet IP addresses, servers and domains to criminals, the US Department of Justice reports. These used the infrastructure, among other things, to distribute malware, which they could use to access victims’ computers, form botnets and steal banking information. The malware programs Zeus, SpyEye, Citadel and the Blackhole Exploit Kit were used through the hosting service. The criminals who used the Russian service between 2009 and 2015 are said to have caused “millions of dollars in damage to American citizens.”

According to court documents, Grichishkin advertised his company on cybercrime forums, set prices for these services and liaised with customers. He was also responsible for recruiting and paying employees. The Russian also helped clients to remain invisible to the police, including by moving customer data to new, ‘clean’ domains and IP addresses. Two of Grichishkin’s accomplices were convicted in this case earlier this year; a 30-year-old Estonian and a 33-year-old Lithuanian. They were sentenced to prison terms of two years and four years respectively.