Russian Man Gets 60 Months Jail for Providing Bulletproof Hosting to Cyber Criminals

A Russian national charged with providing bulletproof hosting services for cybercriminals, who used the platform to spread malware and attack U.S. organizations and financial institutions between 2009 to 2015, has received a 60-month prison sentence.

34-year-old Aleksandr Grichishkin, along with Andrei Skvortsov, founded the bulletproof hosting service and rented its infrastructure to other criminal clientele for distributing a wide range of malware and attempted to cause millions of dollars in losses to U.S. victims.

Skvortsov is pending sentencing and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

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Bulletproof hosting operations are similar to regular web hosting, but are a lot more lenient about what can be hosted on their servers. They are known for providing secure hosting for malicious content and activity and assuring anonymity to threat actors.

Grichishkin, in May, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to engage in a racketeer-influenced corrupt organization (RICO). Acting as the firm’s “day-to-day-leader,” he is also said to have helped customers evade detection by law enforcement and continue their crimes uninterrupted by monitoring sites used to blocklist IP addresses, servers, and domains and moving the affected clients’ data to “clean” infrastructure that was registered under false or stolen identities.

“He oversaw efforts to advertise the organization’s bulletproof hosting services in online cybercrime forums, set pricing for these services, negotiated and interfaced with clients seeking internet infrastructure to be used in spamming and malware operations, managed employee hiring and compensation, and supervised the systems administrators’ and other employees’ work,” the U.S. Justice Department said in a statement.

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The development is the latest in a long saga that ended in two of the scheme’s co-conspirators — Pavel Stassi, 30, of Estonia, and Aleksandr Shorodumov, 33, of Lithuania — receiving a jail term of 24 months and 48 months in prison respectively in October for their roles as the lead systems administrator in the organization and for marketing its services to criminal actors as well as utilizing fraudulent information to register the web hosting and financial accounts.

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