The US Department of Justice has charged a Latvian woman with infecting tens of millions of devices with malware. The DoJ charged her with creating and deploying the banking trojan Trickbot and helping with other criminal activities.
She was one of 17 Trickbot gang members cited in an indictment.
Alla Witte, aged 55, was arrested in Miami four months ago.
According to the Justice Department, the indictment was part of its newly developed ransomware task force.
Witte, known online as “Max,” has been working with the notorious Trickbot malware gang, or the Trickbot Group, since 2015.
The Trickbot malware allows criminals to secretly install various types of malware on compromised machines to steal personal and financial information, including login credentials and credit card numbers. Initially being a banking trojan, after the destruction of Emotet botnet, Trickbot has become a popular malware distribution method.
According to the indictment, Witte and other gang members have stolen over millions of dollars from individuals and businesses in a dozen countries through the use of the TrickBot malware.
Besides an indictment about helping to write code for the Trickbot malware, the Justice Department indicted Witte for her role in ransoming victims. Witte and her co-defendants allegedly used a Bitcoin address to get money from victims for buying special software that would allow them to decrypt their files.
As far as coding, Witte allegedly developed a tool to enable gangsters to monitor and track authorized users of the malware and store stolen login credentials from infected users.
In total, Witte has been charged with 19 counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud which, if convicted, could amount up to 87 years in prison.
The charges, which were announced by the US Department of Justice on Wednesday, serve as warning signs to would-be criminals that the agency will use all its tools to disrupt the cybercrime ecosystem.
“These charges serve as a warning to would-be cybercriminals that the Department of Justice, through the Ransomware and Digital Extortion Task Force and alongside our partners, will use all the tools at our disposal to disrupt the cybercriminal ecosystem,” Deputy Attorney-General Lisa Monaco said.