$2 million in rewards posted for accused SEC hackers

Securities and Exchange Commission headquarters, Washington, D.C. (Wikimedia Commons)


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It’s just like the old saying goes: If you can’t beat ’em, tweet about it.

The U.S. government embarked on a public awareness campaign Wednesday seeking help in the apprehension of two Ukrainian men accused of hacking the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The State Department offered rewards of up to $1 million apiece for information leading to the arrest or conviction of Artem Radchenko and Oleksandr Ieremenko.

The bounty that comes more than a year after the pair were indicted in a scheme to breach an SEC database, steal nonpublic information and then sell it for a profit.

The Secret Service, meanwhile, sent a series of tweets highlighting existing charges against the pair, and asked other Twitter users to provide more information. The effort to breach an SEC database resulted in more than $4.5 million in profit, the Secret Service tweeted.

“As their criminal reach is worldwide, we welcome the cooperation and coordination of all governments to bring these criminals to justice and protect innocent citizens throughout the world,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.

The bounty is offered as part of the State Department’s Transnational Organized Crime Rewards Program.

The SEC and Department of Justice in January 2019 announced charges in connection with a plot to hack the SEC’s Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis and Retrieval (EDGAR) system, which companies use to file information with the financial regulator. According to the indictment, hackers stole data and then passed it to different groups of financial traders, who made profitable financial transactions based on it.

Ieremenko and Radchenko were charged with securities fraud conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, computer fraud conspiracy, wire fraud and computer fraud. Radchenko allegedly recruited Ieremenko and other members of the scheme.

Ieremenko has been on the lam since 2015, when he allegedly conspired with another group of traders to carry out an unrelated hack against newswire distribution companies to steal press releases, and then make financial trades on unreleased market information. U.S. prosecutors also have alleged that Ieremenko was in regular contact with another hacker Yevgeniy Nikulin, who was found guilty in July of stealing data from LinkedIn and Formspring.

During a search of a hard drive belonging to Ieremenko, prosecutors alleged, they uncovered evidence that he was involved in a hack that resulted in the theft of more than 117 million usernames and passwords. Ieremenko also filmed a video of himself in 2012 driving to a meeting in a Moscow motel where he said he planned to meet with a summit of “bad motherf—ers,” the Justice Department said.

-In this Story-

Artem Radchenko, cybercrime, Oleksandr Ieremenko, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), U.S. Department of State, Yevgeniy Nikulin