Hacker That Tried to Frame Krebs for Heroin Goes to Jail

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A Dark Web bigwig who tried to frame security researcher Brian Krebs for heroin trafficking back in 2013 is going to jail for 41 months.

The 31-year-old hacker, variously known as Sergey Vovnenko, Sergey Vovnencko, Tomas Rimkis, Flycracker, Flyck, Fly, Centurion, MUXACC1, Stranier and Darklife, most recently of Naples, Italy, was arrested on June 13, 2014, following an international investigation led by the US Secret Service in coordination with Italian law enforcement. He had been detained by the Italian authorities pending the resolution of extradition proceedings, which he contested for more than 15 months.

From September 2010 through August 2012, Vovnenko, the administrator of two criminal online hacking forums, operated with his conspirators an international criminal organization devoted to stealing user names and passwords for bank accounts and other online services, as well as debit- and credit-card numbers and related personal identifying information.

Vovnenko admitted that, in order to steal the data, he operated a botnet consisting of more than 13,000 computers. He also said that he used the widespread Zeus banking trojan to steal financial information and record the keystrokes of the users of infected computers, a number of which were located in New Jersey.

According to the indictment, Vovnenko was a high-level administrator of several online criminal forums and used his position to traffic in the data he stole as part of the conspiracy. These forums featured electronic bulletin boards for criminal activity, including the purchase, sale, and use of stolen log-in credentials and payment card data, as well as discussions related to cybercrime activity such as malicious computer hacking.

In terms of the Krebs incident, Vovnenko purchased heroin, had it mailed to his home, and then spoofed a phone call from one of his neighbors alerting the local police. Krebs though had already infiltrated the forum, and was able to monitor the scam in real time and alert local police well in advance of the delivery.

The plot, under the heading “Krebs Fund,” involved creating a bitcoin wallet for the exclusive purpose of accepting donations from other members. The goal was to purchase heroin in Krebs’ name and address from a seller on the Silk Road criminal marketplace.

The hacker posted at the time: “Guys, it became known recently that Brian Krebs is a heroin addict and he desperately needs the smack, so we have started the ‘Helping Brian Fund,’ and shortly we will create a bitcoin wallet called ‘Drugs for Krebs’, which we will use to buy him the purest heroin on the Silk Road. My friends, his withdrawal is very bad, let’s join forces to help the guy! We will save Brian from the acute heroin withdrawal and the world will get slightly better!”

Such antics are now beyond Vovnenko’s purview. He has been sentenced to jailtime, three years of supervised release and restitution in the amount of $83,368.

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