Raccoon Infostealer Mastermind Extradited to US

On February 15, it was disclosed that Mark Sokolovsky, a 28-year-old Ukrainian and operator of the malicious software “Raccoon Stealer,” was extradited to the United States from the Netherlands to face upcoming legal proceedings.

In October 2020, the U.S. Department of Justice charged Sokolovsky with computer fraud for infecting millions of computers with a virus designed to steal data.

Arrested in the Netherlands in March 2022, he was accused of participating in the international cybercriminal operation “Raccoon Stealer.” Despite appealing the Dutch court’s extradition decision to the U.S., he was nonetheless transported there to partake in the trial.

19-year-old hacker

“Raccoon” first came to light in April 2019. This info stealer was crafted to pilfer credit card data, email accounts, cryptocurrency wallets, and other sensitive information. The program was marketed as a service, complete with automated backend support, providing reliable hosting and 24/7 support for $200 a month.

Experts estimate that by the time of its initial discovery, the malware had infected over 100,000 users worldwide, primarily targeting cryptocurrency applications, popular browsers, and email clients.

Sokolovsky’s arrest coincided with the dismantling of the “Raccoon” C2 infrastructure, a joint operation conducted by the FBI, Italian, and Dutch law enforcement. In the information stolen by the criminals, experts found over 50 million unique credentials, including email addresses, bank accounts, and credit card numbers.

It is estimated that the victims of the “Raccoon” info stealer number in the millions across the globe.

Sokolovsky faces charges of computer fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, and aggravated identity theft, with the most serious crimes carrying a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

Sokolovsky made his first appearance in a U.S. court on February 9. The trial will take some time, after which the world will learn the fate of the Ukrainian hacker.

Cybercrime is a dangerous and unlawful activity, and every perpetrator will inevitably face justice. The temporary evasion of justice does not guarantee perpetual freedom. This serves as a cautionary tale for any would-be cybercriminal to reconsider their actions, lest they find themselves behind bars and forfeit their entire life.