BALTIMORE, MD (August 12, 2015) — Keith Mularski, Supervisory Special Agent of the Cyber Squad, Pittsburgh Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) spoke at the CyberPoint Speaker Series on July 28, 2015. Special Agent Mularski described the takedown of the Gameover ZeuS cyber crime gang as a case study in cooperative law enforcement.
An FBI-led coalition of international law enforcement agencies and private companies was able to track down the elusive botmaster behind the cyber crimewave that used the Gameover ZeuS botnet to commit bank fraud and distribute CryptoLocker ransomware. Mularski outlined the law enforcement operation.
He also drew an important lesson from the investigation: dogged persistence pays off. The criminals need to be on their game all the time, but law enforcement needs only one slip to get them. In this case alleged Gameover ZeuS botmaster "Slavik" is one Evgenyi Mikhailovich Bogachev, believed to be rusticating in the vicinity of Krasnodar on the Black Sea, indeed made his one slip. (We can't let you know what that slip was, but trust us, it's hilarious.)
Bots are particularly important to cyber crime, since as Mularski pointed out most bad things on the Internet start with spam, and botnets are the most effective spam distribution mechanisms. The collaborative effort disrupted one of the biggest cyber criminal enterprises on record, and the criminals won't find it easy to reestablish it.
Earlier that day Special Agent Mularski also conducted a special session for CyberPoint interns. He described cyber law enforcement and what it's like to pursue a career as a cyber expert in the FBI.
A Special Agent since 1998, Mularski began his FBI career investigating national security cases from the Washington Field Office. Among his cases were the Robert Hanssen espionage investigation and the 9/11 terrorist attack on the Pentagon. Since 2005, Mr. Mularski has served in the FBI's Cyber Division, where he has worked on proactive targeting of international cyber criminal gangs. His successful undercover penetration of cyber mobs led to the dismantling of the Darkmarket criminal-carding forum.
Mularski also has a connection to a past CyberPoint Speaker Series guest author: Joseph Menn discusses Mularski's role as an investigator of the sophisticated and dangerous cyber gangs Menn chronicles in his book Fatal System Error.
The event was made possible in part by the generous support of the Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore and BW Tech @ UMBC Cyber Incubator. The Christian Science Monitor Passcode and the CyberWire were joint media partners for the event. The talk itself was held at the Jailbreak Brewing Company in Laurel, Maryland.
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