Colombian law enforcement authorities managed to detain today international cybercriminal Mihai Ionut Paunescu, an international hacker sought for years by the US government to face justice over creating viruses, hacking, bank fraud, and wire fraud. The charges against him go back to 2012.
In 2013, then US Attorney Preet Bharara called Gozi one of the most financially destructive computer viruses in history.
Paunescu is accused by US prosecutors as being part of the cybercriminal network that designed the ‘Gozi’ malware. This malicious software was sent in e-mails as an attached file that, when downloaded, infiltrated the computers of large companies and government entities, accessed privileged data such as bank passwords, numbers and identification documents; and intercepted and diverted money transfers, among other fraudulent actions.
According to the US State Department, this Trojan-type virus infected computers in the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, Poland, France, Finland, Italy, and Turkey. Some of the victims are multinationals, banks and organizations such as NASA.
Mihai Ionut Paunescu was placed at the disposal of Colombia’s Attorney General’s Office after his arrest by the DIJIN investigative unit of the National Police. The United States Embassy was immediately contacted so that it could initiate extradition proceedings.