An ransomware is a is a kind of malware, or malicious software, that hijacks files and sometimes entire computers or mobile devices. In recent times the most dangerous have been the Thanos and Jigsaw viruses. And the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), singled out the French-Venezuelan doctor and citizen Moisés Luis Zagala González, as the author of these files.
According to the DOJ, this subject based in Ciudad Bolivar is “also known as “Nosophoros”, “Aesculapius” and “Nebuchadnezzar”, a citizen of France and Venezuela residing in Venezuela, of attempted computer intrusions and conspiracy to commit computer intrusions . The charges stem from Zagala’s use and sale of ransomware, as well as his extensive support and profit-sharing agreements with cybercriminals who used his ransomware programs.”
Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York commented that, “As alleged, the multi-tasking doctor treated patients, created and named his cyber tool after death, profited from a global ransomware ecosystem. in which it sold the tools to carry out ransomware attacks, trained attackers on how to extort money from victims, and then boasted of successful attacks, including by malicious actors associated with the government of Iran.”
Meanwhile, Michael J. Driscoll, Deputy Director in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), said about the Venezuelan doctor that, “We allege that Zagala not only created and sold ransomware products to hackers, but also trained them in its use. Our actions today will prevent Zagala from further victimizing users. However, many other malicious criminals are looking for companies and organizations that haven’t taken steps to protect their systems, which is an incredibly vital step in stopping the next ransomware attack.”
Zagala thus created an empire especially with Thanos, since he sold the license of his malicious file to many cybercriminals. Zagala received payment in both fiat currency and cryptocurrency, including Monero and Bitcoin.
In public announcements of the program, Zagala boasted that the Thanos-made ransomware was almost undetectable by antivirus programs, and that “once encryption is done,” the ransomware would “delete itself,” causing detection and recovery are “almost impossible” for the victim.
In private chats with clients, Zagala explained how to implement his ransomware products: how to craft a ransom note, steal passwords from victims’ computers, and set up a Bitcoin address for ransom payments.
If convicted, the defendant faces up to five years in prison for attempted computer intrusion and five years in prison for conspiracy to commit computer intrusion.