PITTSBURGH – Federal prosecutors released an indictment Thursday against a Russian citizen in connection with attempts to hack multiple U.S. organizations, including the Sharon City School District.
Maksim V. Yakubets, 32, of Moscow, and Igor Turashev, 38, of Yoshkar-Ola, Russia were indicted in Pittsburgh and Lincoln, Neb. in what prosecutors called “international computer hacking and bank fraud schemes.”
According to the indictment, Yakubets played a lead role in efforts to hack financial accounts for Sharon City School District, First National Bank and six other entities. Prosecutors said Turashev was a “close associate” with Yakubets who operated malware to capture users’ financial information, including personal and financial information by logging the users’ computer keystrokes.
The Russians’ hacking efforts began in 2009 and continued into 2019.
They then used that information to make, or attempt to make, unauthorized withdrawals from the victims’ bank accounts. Prosecutors said the Russian hackers tried to withdraw $999,000 from a Sharon school district account at First National Bank.
The U.S. State Department has offered a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest of Yakubets, who operates online under the alias of “aqua,” and Turashev.
U.S. Attorney Scott W. Brady of the Western District of Pennsylvania, U.S. Attorney Joseph P. Kelly of the Nebraska District, Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division cooperated in the investigation, along with the FBI, State ‘s and the United Kingdom National Crime Agency.