US offers US$2mil bounty for Ukrainian hackers

WASHINGTON: The US State Department and Secret Service offered US$2 million in reward money Wednesday for help capturing two Ukrainians charged with hacking and selling valuable insider corporate information from the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The agencies offered a bounty of US$1 million each for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of Artem Viacheslavovich Radchenko and Oleksandr Vitalyevich Leremenko on charges of international cybercrime.

The two were charged in a January 2019 indictment in New Jersey with breaking into SEC computers to steal thousands of corporate files, including unreleased quarterly and annual earnings reports.

The Justice Department said they both sold the hacked information and traded securities before the information was made public.

The two were charged in a 16-count indictment with securities fraud conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, computer fraud conspiracy, wire fraud, and computer fraud.

But both remain at large. It was the first time the Secret Service offered a reward internationally toward apprehending a target of US law enforcement.

“Cyber criminals do not observe nor respect the rule of law in any country,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.

The offer was made under the State Department’s Transnational Organized Crime Rewards Program.

Under that and a similar program targeting narcotics traffickers, the State Department has paid out US$130 million in rewards since 1986.