Officials in Alexandria, Va. this weekend began selecting jury members for the trial of Ruslans Bondars, a Latvian national accused of running a Dark Web service through which hackers could determine whether their malware was likely to get flagged.
Bondars allegedly teamed up with Russian national Jurijs Martisevs to run the service, which checked attackers’ malware code for virus signatures used in common security software. If the malware was likely to be detected in the wild, its developer could make the necessary changes to bypass their targets’ security defenses. The service ran from 2009 through May 2017, during which time it was connected to cyberattacks on organizations in the US.
Martisevs pleaded guilty in March to one charge of conspiracy and one charge of aiding and abetting computer intrusion. Bondars currently faces federal charges of conspiracy, wire fraud, and computer hacking. He’s set to be sentenced in July. It’s believed other co-conspirators participated in the operation, including a malware author based in Virginia.
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