Malware writer pleads guilty to helping $568 million cybercrime ring

Valerian Chiochiu allegedly helped Infraud steal massive amounts of data.

Tero Vesalainen via Getty Images

Another key member of the massive Infraud cybercrime ring is likely heading to prison. Software writer Valerian Chiochiu has pleaded guilty to RICO conspiracy for helping Infraud Organization develop and use FastPOS malware that helped the group steal massive amounts of data. Infraud is now believed to have stolen enough identities, payment cards and other sensitive data to produce $568 million in losses.

Chiochiu will be sentenced on December 11th. A co-founder and administrator of Infraud, Sergey Medvedev, pleaded guilty on June 26th.

The group was created in 2010 and became a hub for thieves hoping to buy goods with fake and stolen payment cards. It was reportedly sophisticated, with members offering automated vending sites, a screening process and even an escrow service to help complete transactions. The Justice Department counted 10,901 registered members by March 2017.

This isn’t a decisive victory for law enforcement. Only a handful of Infraud members are facing punishment, some of them in the US. Others, including co-founder Svyatoslav Bondarenko, are fugitives. The guilty plea won’t necessarily deter other crooks. It’s still an important win, though, and shows how US prosecutors will tackle other large cybercrime outfits — it’s pushing for confessions that help take down as many targets as possible.