US charges Ukrainian man with Raccoon Infostealer operation

Pierluigi Paganini October 26, 2022

US authorities charged a Ukrainian man with computer fraud for allegedly infecting millions of computers with Raccoon Infostealer.

The US Justice Department charged a Ukrainian, Mark Sokolovsky (26) man with computer fraud for allegedly infecting millions of computers with the Raccoon Infostealer.

The man is currently being held in the Netherlands, he was charged for his alleged role the international cybercrime operation known as Raccoon Infostealer.

The Raccoon stealer was first spotted in April 2019, it was designed to steal victims’ credit card data, email credentials, cryptocurrency wallets, and other sensitive data.

Raccoon is offered for sale as a malware-as-a-service (MaaS) that implements an easy-to-use automated backend panel, operators also offer bulletproof hosting and 24/7 customer support in both Russian and English. The price of the Raccoon service is $200 per month to use.

The Raccoon stealer is written in C++ by Russian-speaking developers that initially promoted it exclusively on Russian-speaking hacking forums. The malware is now promoted on English-speeaking hacking forums, it works on both 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems.

Raccoon Infostealer

The analysis of the logs for sale in the underground community allowed the experts to estimate that Raccoon infected over 100,000 users worldwide at the time of its discovery.

The list of targeted applications includes cryptocurrency apps for major currencies (Electrum, Ethereum, Exodus, Jaxx, and Monero), popular browsers (Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, Opera, Vivaldi, Waterfox, SeaMonkey, UC Browser) and email client like Thunderbird, Outlook, and Foxmail.

Dutch authorities arrested Sokolovsky in March 2022, concurrent with his arrest, the FBI and law enforcement partners in Italy and the Netherlands dismantled the C2 infrastructure used by the Raccoon Infostealer operation.

FBI identified more than 50 million unique credentials and forms of identification (email addresses, bank accounts, cryptocurrency addresses, credit card numbers, etc.) in the stolen data. While an exact number of victims have yet to be verified, experts believe that millions of potential victims around the world were targeted by the operation.

The credentials appear to include over four million email addresses. The United States does not believe it is in possession of all the data stolen by Raccoon Infostealer and continues to investigate.

“Individuals who deployed Raccoon Infostealer to steal data from victims leased access to the malware for approximately $200 per month, paid for by cryptocurrency. These individuals used various ruses, such as email phishing, to install the malware onto the computers of unsuspecting victims.” reads the press release published by the DoJ. “Raccoon Infostealer then stole personal data from victim computers, including log-in credentials, financial information, and other personal records. Stolen information was used to commit financial crimes or was sold to others on cybercrime forums.”

Sokolovsky is charged with computer fraud, wire fraud, money laundering and aggravated identity theft.

Sokolovsky faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for the wire fraud and money laundering offenses, five years for the conspiracy to commit computer fraud charge, and a mandatory consecutive two-year term for the aggravated identity theft offense.

“This case highlights the importance of the international cooperation that the Department of Justice and our partners use to dismantle modern cyber threats,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco. “As reflected in the number of potential victims and global breadth of this attack, cyber threats do not respect borders, which makes international cooperation all the more critical. I urge anyone who thinks they could be a victim to follow the FBI’s guidance on how to report your potential exposure.”

The man is appealing the decision of a Dutch Court of granting his extradition to the United States.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, Raccoon Infostealer)

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