Google Wins Lawsuit Against Russians Linked to Blockchain-based Glupteba Botnet

Google Wins Lawsuit Against Russians – Google has won a lawsuit against two Russian citizens over the Glupteba botnet, the company said last week.

The Southern District of New York imposed monetary sanctions on the defendants and their US attorneys. Defendant’s motion to impose sanctions on Google was denied.


The development comes nearly a year after the tech giant filed a lawsuit against Dmitry Starovikov and Alexander Filippov allegedly responsible for destroying the malware’s command and control infrastructure.

The accused and 15 others were charged with hacking the device’s network using malware. It mines cryptocurrency, collects personal data, and serves bad ads.

Gluteba differs from botnets in that it uses a cryptocurrency blockchain as a command and control mechanism to resist disruption. According to Google, the botnet has infected more than one million Windows computers worldwide.

Bitcoin Blockchain Technology

“Malware Glupteba [..] instructs the infected computer to look up the address of the C2 server by referencing a transaction related to a specific account on the Bitcoin blockchain,” the court said in its ruling.

Starovikov and Filippov, who claimed to have worked as software engineers at Valtron LLC, were charged with intentionally attempting to mislead the court. It has also been accused of intent to deprive Google of usable information. In addition to attorney fees of $110,000 in exchange for providing private keys to Bitcoin addresses associated with the Glupteba botnet.

However, the Mountain View-based company rejected the offer, calling it “exorbitant” and reporting it to law enforcement.

But in a conflicting statement, the defendants reversed their previous position a week later, on September 15, saying that “they possess no such information and the Bitcoin accounts belong to Voltron’s CEO”.

“It is now clear that the defendants appear in this court not to defend themselves in good faith against Google’s claims, but with the intention of abusing the legal system and discovery rules to profit from Google,” said District Judge Denise L. Cote.

Future Cybercrime Cases

Google has won a significant lawsuit against a group that operated a network of bots to manipulate their systems. This could have big implications for future cybercrime cases.

This case involves the Russian group Gupteba, which used bot exploits to infiltrate millions of Windows devices.

Gupteba systems stole user logins and cookies, mined cryptocurrencies from infected servers, and deployed proxy components targeting Windows systems and IoT devices. Software download links are the main source of this malware.

Google Wins Lawsuit Against Russians

In this case, Google won because the authors live abroad and are therefore outside the jurisdiction of US law :

” A court accepted Google’s request for sanctions, and it extended and increased monetary penalties for defendants of Russian descent and their lawyers in the United States.

An extremely crucial factor, in this case, is the naming of the shells of the individuals and companies involved. In particular, those involved in the Gupteba process have committed crimes to engage in these activities. If foreign groups can be held directly responsible, it would provide a new level of legal recourse. This could see more action taken against such activities over time.

Of course, some groups will remain in faceless formations. However, more complex operations require funding. Google and other platforms can point you to these sources, putting more pressure on them.

Glupteb’s group challenged this decision and it will be interesting to see what happens next. But it could set a severe precedent to help fight online scams.

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