Meet Evgeniy Mikhailovich Bogachev. He enjoys automobiles, boat adventures, money, and aggravated identity theft. He’s also wanted by the FBI with a bounty on his head of $US3 million ($3.9 million), the highest ever for a cybercriminal. Seriously, this dude is straight out of an Ian Fleming novel.
The New York Times just profiled the 33-year-old Russian hacker who lives in “Anapa, a run-down resort town on the Black Sea in southern Russia”. There, according to the FBI’s Most Wanted page on Bogachev, the Dr Evil lookalike “is known to enjoy boating and may travel to locations along the Black Sea in his boat”. When he’s not boating, Bogachev is reportedly taking control of as many as one million computers around the world and enabling Russian intelligence agencies to spy on their contents. According to the FBI, he’s also been able to steal hundreds of millions of dollars from unsuspecting bank accounts, some of which are based in the United States.
Like any good James Bond villain, Bogachev also loves his cars. The Times reports that he keeps “a collection of luxury cars, though he seems to favour driving his Jeep Grand Cherokee”. The paper also reports that, “At one point, he owned two villas in France and kept a fleet of cars parked around Europe so he would never have to rent a vehicle while on vacation.” He apparently has three different Russian passports under different names to help him scoot across borders. When he’s not on holiday, the feds say that Bogchev stays busy creating world-crushing malware like the program GameOver ZeuS, which was able to bypass bank security measures for years without detection.
This is all well and good, except there’s no obvious way for American authorities to arrest Bogachev. Russia won’t let US authorities snatch him up in the resort town where he lives, since the two countries don’t have an extradition treaty, and the Putin administration says it won’t arrest him unless they catch him committing crimes in Russia. So, for now, Bogachev gets to live his weird Bond villain lifestyle and reportedly help the Russian government spy on an unknown number of people around the world. Meanwhile, in Australia and the US, we get to enjoy the second Cold War which isn’t all that different from the first one.