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Russian Who Helped Kelihos Malware Evade Detection Sentenced to 4 Years in Prison

A Russian national convicted earlier this year in the United States for his role in a cybercrime operation has been sentenced to four years in prison.

Oleg Koshkin, 41, was given a 48-month prison sentence for one count of conspiracy to commit computer fraud and abuse and one count of computer fraud and abuse. He has been in custody since 2019, when he was arrested in California.

Koshkin, who had been living in Estonia, operated online services designed to help malware evade detection by anti-malware products. His websites, Crypt4U.com and fud.bz, provided so-called crypting services that malware developers could use to encrypt their creations in order to increase their chances of remaining undetected.

While the services were used for various types of malware, the United States’ case against the man focused on how his services were used by the creator of the Kelihos botnet, which is said to have ensnared roughly 200,000 devices around the world.

Kelihos was at one point one of the biggest botnets, but it was taken down in 2017, when its creator, Russian national Peter Levashov, was arrested in Spain. Levashov pleaded guilty in 2018, after he was extradited to the United States, and he was sentenced to time served in July — he had spent 33 months in custody.

Pavel Tsurkan, who has been accused of helping Koshkin, pleaded guilty to hacking-related charges in June, but he has yet to be sentenced.

“Today’s sentencing of Oleg Koshkin serves as another example of the risk and consequences awaiting those who choose to commit cybercrimes against the American public,” said Special Agent in Charge David Sundberg of the FBI’s New Haven Division.

“For years, Koshkin and his co-conspirators worked to evade our most basic cyber defenses in order to spread malware on a truly global scale. While our work to bring Koshin to justice comes to a close, the FBI will continue to tirelessly defend our country from the ever-evolving cyber threats posed by criminals, terrorists and hostile nation-states,” Sundberg added.

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Related: Russian Sentenced to Prison in U.S. for Role in Cybercrime Scheme

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.