Federal prosecutors have charged three people in as many
countries with creating and distributing a computer virus
that infected more than a million computers around the world,
including some operated by the U.S. space agency and others
Known as the Gozi virus, it infected at least 40,000
computers in the United States and caused millions of dollars
in losses by stealing online banking credentials, the
Manhattan U.S. Attorney's office said.
The defendants, Latvian Deniss Calovskis, Russian Nikita
Kuzmin and Romanian Mihai Ionut Paunescu, used Gozi to steal
millions of dollars from bank accounts in Europe, the United
States and elsewhere, according to the indictment filed in
U.S. District Court in Manhattan.
The first indictment against the men was brought against
Kuzmin in 2011 under seal.
Kuzmin was in custody in New York, while Calovskis was taken
into custody in Latvia and Paunescu was taken into custody in
Romania, prosecutors said.
Attorney information for the defendants was not immediately
Calovskis and Kuzmin began to design the virus in or around
2005 to steal bank account information of individuals and
businesses "on a widespread basis," prosecutors said in the
Paunescu operated a Web hosting service from computers in
Romania, the United States and elsewhere that helped cyber
criminals avoid detection by authorities, according to court
Information security experts in the United States named the
Gozi virus around 2007 after discovering a malicious computer
code that was stealing information including bank account
numbers, usernames and passwords, according to the court
From around 2008 to June 2012, the virus infected more than
160 NASA computers, resulting in over $40,000 in damage,
according to the documents. It wass unclear if the virus
affected NASA's operations. A spokesman from the agency did
not immediately return a call seeking comment.