Alleged Cyber Criminal Extradited from Latvia to US
Latvia on Thursday extradited a programmer to the United States to stand trial for his alleged role in a global cyber theft ring that hacked into a million computers.
Latvian Deniss Calovskis, 29, and two other Europeans are suspected of hacking into computers at the US space agency NASA and stealing online banking credentials for profit.
“I can confirm that Mr Calovskis has been handed over to US Marshals and that he is already out of Latvia’s jurisdiction,” Latvian State Police spokesman Toms Sadovskis told AFP.
Calovskis’ extradition had been held up for months while he launched an unsuccessful appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. It ultimately rejected his claim that he would not be able to have a fair trial in the US.
Fellow suspects, Russian Nikita Kuzmin and Romanian Mihai Ionut Paunescu, are already in custody in the US.
The trio are accused of using malicious computer code or malware, dubbed the Gozi Virus, to infiltrate computers across Europe and the US.
They caused “millions in losses by, among other things, stealing online banking credentials”, according to the US federal prosecutor’s office.
Calovskis, alias “Miami”, was arrested in Latvia in November 2012 and charged with writing some of the computer code in the Gozi Virus.
He is suspected of using his expertise in programming to create “web injects”, a code that alters how banking websites appear on infected computers, prompting victims to reveal personal information.
Prosecutors say the sophisticated scam unfolded between 2005 and March 2012, adding that the virus was “virtually undetectable in the computers it infected”.
Financial losses from the virus stand “at a minimum, millions of dollars”, according to the indictment.