Men Sentenced for Providing ‘Bulletproof Hosting’ Services to Cybercriminals

Two Eastern European men have been sentenced for providing “bulletproof hosting” services, which were used by cybercriminals between 2009 to 2015 to distribute malware and attack financial institutions and victims throughout the United States.

On June 28 and Oct. 20, Chief Judge Denise Page Hood of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan sentenced Pavel Stassi, 30, of Estonia, to 24 months in prison; and Aleksandr Skorodumov, 33, of Lithuania, to 48 months in prison, for their roles in the scheme.

According to court documents, Stassi and Skorodumov were members of a bulletproof hosting organization founded and led by two co-defendants, Aleksandr Grichishkin and Andrei Skvortsov, both 34 and of Russia. The group rented IP addresses, servers, and domains to cybercriminal clients who employed this technical infrastructure to disseminate malware used to gain access to victims’ computers, form botnets, and steal banking credentials for use in frauds. Malware hosted by the organization included Zeus, SpyEye, Citadel, and the Blackhole Exploit Kit, which attacked U.S. companies and financial institutions between 2009 and 2015 and caused or attempted to cause millions of dollars in losses to U.S. victims. The defendants also helped their clients evade detection by law enforcement and continue their crimes uninterrupted by monitoring sites used to blocklist technical infrastructure used for crime, moving “flagged” content to new infrastructure, and registering all such infrastructure under false or stolen identities.

“Over the course of many years, the defendants facilitated the transnational criminal activity of a vast network of cybercriminals throughout the world by providing them a safe-haven to anonymize their criminal activity,” said Special Agent in Charge Timothy Waters of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office. “This resulted in millions of dollars of losses to U.S. victims. Cybercriminals may believe they are beyond the reach of the FBI and our international partners, but today’s proceeding proves that anyone who facilitates or profits from criminal cyber activity will be brought to justice.”

According to court filings and statements made in…