Recent headlines are filled with details about the fallout from a record number of hacks, costing retailers and consumers millions. In the wake of all this negativity, we are pleased to share that Trend Micro’s Forward-looking Threat Research (FTR) Team provided “valuable assistance” in helping the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) apprehend and successfully convict the creator of the “SpyEye” malware, which is believed to have infected an estimated 1.4 million computers in the United States and abroad.
In a press release issued by the FBI, the FTR Team, along with several other private companies, was cited for assisting in the successful prosecution of Aleksandr Andreevich Panin, a Russian national also known as “Gribodemon” and “Harderman.” Panin has since pled guilty to conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud for his role as the primary developer and distributor of “SpyEye.”
“The FBI appreciates the support and assistance of the Trend Micro Forward-looking Threat Research team in the investigation that resulted in the arrest of Aleksandr Andreevich Panin, aka “Gribodemon” and “Harderman,” said FBI Executive Assistant Director Rick McFeely. “Public-private collaborations such as this are critical to successfully addressing the cyber threat and bringing cyber criminals to justice.”
Trend Micro’s FTR team is an elite team of researchers whose mission is to scout the future of the Internet and predict the future evolutions of cybercrime. The e-crimes unit works closely with international law enforcement partners like Interpol and ITU to help make the world safe for the exchange of digital information. FTR was instrumental in the FBI take down of Rove Digital, and the arrest of key figures behind the “Police Ransomware” attacks and most recently the FBI arrest of the author of the notorious SpyEye banking Trojan. You can see more of FTRs work described in their research papers and on the Security Intelligence blog.
As threat defense experts, our mission is to make the world safe for exchanging digital information. As such, just detecting malware like SpyEye or protecting our customers from the latest threat is not enough; we need to go to the source of the threats. Our belief is don’t just stop their activities, stop the people behind them and our FTR eCrimes unit supports law enforcement across the globe by bringing new investigations to them, or like this one, supporting a current investigation they are running.
Threat actor research is a key component in the Trend Micro™ Smart Protection Network™ to help us both to understand what tools and techniques the actors are doing today, but also to identify the actors behind the crime. This helps us build better protections for our customers, and provides much needed assistance to law enforcement agencies.