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Ukrainian CyberCrime Boss Leads Political Party

A Ukrainian man once known as one of the top ringleaders in Eastern Europe-based organized cyber crime is now heading up a new political party there.

Dmitry Ivanovich Golubov, a 24-year-old from Odessa, is leading the upstart "Internet Party of Ukraine," a party he helped create shortly after parliamentary elections in the country last fall. In 2005, Golubov -- a.k.a. "script" -- was arrested and jailed on charges of trading in credit and debit card credentials stolen via computer viruses and password-snatching Trojan horse programs, thefts that caused millions of dollars in losses to banks over several years.

U.S. Postal Investigative Service Photo

U.S. investigators said Golubov was among the top henchmen at Carderplanet.com, an online fraud forum that once facilitated credit and debit card fraud for about 7,000 scammers around the globe. So open and brazen were the curators of this fraudster bazaar that Carderplanet.com actually ran Internet ads for its service, including this Macromedia Flash-based segment that bills Carderplanet as the source of "everything you need for business" and "individual customer support." Update: Anti-virus maker F-Secure has published a blog post that links to two other Carderplanet ads.

Told through the eyes of Greg Crabb, a U.S. Postal Inspection Service investigator who tracked Golubov's activities for several years in tandem with other U.S. law enforcement agencies, this wired.com story from Jan. 2007 details how Golubov was set free following six months in prison, after a pair of influential Ukrainian politicians convinced a judge to release him on bond.

For his part, Golubov says he's segueing into politics -- not for the money or power, but to serve others.

Golubov today, campaigning as a member of the Internet Party of Ukraine

"I belong to a rare category of people who go into politics is not for the profit, but for the sake of ideas," Golubov wrote in a (rough Google-translated) biographical statement accompanying a picture of himself on the party's Web site. "I am not interested in money, as the purpose of life. I get pleasure when helping other people, and I am willing to devote their lives to this."

Ironically, Golubov and the Internet Party are running on a platform of rooting out public corruption and reducing bureaucracy. Other parts of its platform include the "computerization of the entire country," "free computer courses and foreign languages at the expense of the budget," "the creation of offshore zones in certain regions of Ukraine," and the organization of Ukraine as a "tax free paradise with the aim to attract money from all over the world."

Golubov's case highlights the serious challenges facing U.S. law enforcement agencies as they continue efforts to gain the cooperation of foreign governments in bringing cyber criminals to justice. While USPIS Inspector Crabb and others have expressed frustration that this guy escaped justice, holding him accountable for any future crimes if he indeed hasn't turned over a new leaf may well be impossible: Gaining a seat in the Ukrainian government would grant Golubov automatic immunity from prosecution for criminal activities under Ukrainian law.

Neither Golubov nor his political party returned messages seeking comment for this piece.

Update, March 14, 10:47 a.m. ET:Added links from F-Secure to Carderplanet.com advertisements.

By Brian Krebs  |  March 13, 2008; 11:02 AM ET
Categories:  Fraud  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Six Degrees of E-Separation
Next: The Anatomy of a Vishing Scam

Comments

Sounds like a cyber criminals paradise in the making should this guy be in charge.

Just what we need, another haven for the low life scum to hide. Like there aren't enough already.

Posted by: TeMerc | March 13, 2008 11:14 AM | Report abuse

"Gaining a seat in the Ukrainian government would grant Golubov automatic immunity from prosecution for criminal activities under Ukrainian law."

This was my suspicion from the beginning of this blog post, since I knew Russia has a law like that but I wasn't sure about Ukraine. I think immunity from prosecution is his primary motive, if not his only motive, for seeking political office.

Posted by: William | March 13, 2008 11:48 PM | Report abuse

Hey Brian, we have more stuff related to Carderplanet,
including more of their Flash ads posted at http://www.f-secure.com/weblog/archives/carderplanet_index.htm

Mikko

Posted by: Mikko | March 14, 2008 7:48 AM | Report abuse

Mikko -- That's great! I've never seen those other ads. I will update this post shortly to include a link to them. Thanks!

Posted by: Bk | March 14, 2008 8:23 AM | Report abuse

Well at least he's intelligent and understands technology. Almost certainly much better than the mass child murdering lunatic preident of the USA.

Posted by: Dalia | March 14, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

"Almost certainly much better than the mass child murdering lunatic preident of the USA." Posted by: Dalia | March 14, 2008 10:51 AM

Quote: "User reviews and comments that include ... personal attacks ... will be removed from the site."

Posted by: David12 | March 14, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Everybody knows Odessa is one of the most important cities to the organized crime in Europe: it is a no-law land, which serves as a port to many smuggling operations, including commercial links to Moldova's breakaway region of Transnsistria. Worse, the region is under the control of the oligarchic and Russophile Party of Regions, from the former robber Viktor Yanukovich...

Posted by: A Guy from Brazil | March 14, 2008 10:56 PM | Report abuse

As the FBI agent who filed the complaint against Dimitry in US Federal court, it should be noted that Ukrainian politician or not if Golubov comes to the U.S. before 2010 he can be arrested for his crimes against the American people that seemed to have ended in 2005.

Posted by: E.J. H | March 15, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Да вы тут ЖЖОТЕ? %)

Posted by: Andreus | March 15, 2008 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone think that Ukrainian guy could get thousands of credit cards numbers? How? In addition to numbers of credit cards and names of cardholders he need CVV2 and without it he will get nowhere - no shopping!
And where he has received the goods? At home?

Posted by: Andreus | March 15, 2008 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Authors of article are incompetent, because there was no notice to party about the publication. Only close to party have told that in general there is such article.
Authors say lies. You didn't try to contact party and with its leader at all. You write unilateral articles and ask thus neither Golubov's opinion nor his lawyer's opinion concerning article.
I on a place of the party leader took your newspaper into court as the fault of a leader is not proved and will be hardly proved, because charges are false and cannot be connected among themselves.

Posted by: TJ | March 15, 2008 10:55 PM | Report abuse

Excellent pro forma denial TJ. But you need to work with some American PR flacks to smooth the rough edges off your style. Kind of like the people you work for.

And in America there's no rule (yet), written or unwritten, that the subjects of an article need to be notified. Makes bullying tougher doesn't it?

Posted by: kfritz | March 15, 2008 11:47 PM | Report abuse

@TJ -- Thanks for the comment. However, I can assure you that I did attempt to contact Mr Golubov and get his comment. In fact, the party's site lists an ICQ number as a contact point, and while there was someone signed in to that account during the times I messaged that ICQ number, I never received even an acknowledgment. After waiting a day with no response, we published this post.

Posted by: Bk | March 16, 2008 12:57 AM | Report abuse

@Andreus -- Keyloggers grab CVV2 numbers perfectly well. most keyloggers are in fact form grabbers, in that they yank out any data submitted in a web site form. Since most Web merchants require shoppers to enter the CVV2 number on the back of their credit card before purchasing, that data would be recorded and stolen just as the victim's credit card number would be. If you've ever seen a dump from a keylog file, it's extremely common to find CVV2s accompanying credit card #s.

Posted by: Bk | March 16, 2008 1:00 AM | Report abuse

In recent article Dmitry say that his passport was stolen and somebody posted it on internet as passport of Script. This is how law enforcement linked him as owner of website (no others evidences).

http://www.pl.com.ua/main.php?Date=2008-02-24&artID=623

Also on screenshot from forum Script say he is from Greece - but seems Dmitry is not.

Posted by: AT | March 16, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Washington Post is the newspaper which lays under FBI. They write everything that it will tell, instead of objective articles. Therefore I also don't read them

Posted by: mk | March 16, 2008 6:58 PM | Report abuse

There was another man from Columbia who also became a Member of the Parliament of Columbia -- the infamous Carlos Escobar -- El Doctor and head of the Medellin Cocaine Cartel.

He is now dead, not having died a natural death OBVIOUSLY.

Posted by: brucerealtor | March 16, 2008 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Mr Golubov was one of my white whales (literary reference for the one that got away but was not forotten) As there is not enough room here nor do I have the itme right now to share the whole story of Carderplanet, Mr. Golubov, his various friends like Roman Vega aka BOA (for Bank of America), let me say this, there have been several inquires as it relates to this case and the FBI's involvment. I know of at least one story to be written about it providing significant details when it is published I encourage you all to read it as it is quite a tale. As for Mr Golubov's ability to obtain credit cards. It was not difficult given the lax card payment system security at the time. In order to convert them to cash or merchandise, there are a number of schemes which include changing a billing address, hiring US based middlemen or issuing charges on the card to a merchant account controlled by the bad guys. I wrote a paper about this before and will share it with Mr. Krebs for use as he sees fit.

Please note that Mr Golubov denied being Script despite pictures from his buddies computers identifying him and several sources contacting him. When he was arrested it took 1 hour to get through the door because of the steel frame. A hole was cut in the wall next to the door to gain entry. By that time Mr. Golubov had woked (big frying pan oil and fire) his loose media and phone. His hard drive was wiped with and electro-magentic pulse from a device called a Raskat.
As I am sure Mr. Golubov has read this article as well as the comments. I commend you sir for you ability to avoid further charges. I wonder if you really need to go to this extent when the penalty for computer intrusion in the Ukraine is only 5 years in jail or a $1000 USD fine. Im sure you could easily afford that even for the numerous intrusion you conspired to commit.

Posted by: E.J.H | March 17, 2008 12:06 AM | Report abuse

You mean you guys think "TJ" and the other posters to Brian's blog are legit (meaning they represent someone who is really connected to this criminal (Golubov)? Come on! I think your collective legs are being pulled.

Posted by: Pete from Arlington | March 17, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Heh. Such colorful posts. It is a sad, sad state of affairs when known criminals are legitimized by holding public positions.

Golubov's story is yet another reminder for well-intentioned internet users to be mindful of websites that they visit and actions that they take while online.

Posted by: C.B. | March 19, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

How much does it cost to have someone whacked in Odessa? A question for corporate security officials should this guy gain public office.

Posted by: Robert | March 20, 2008 8:14 AM | Report abuse

I wish nothing but good luck for Golubov. At least he will bring a glimmer of freedom to his people. Much unlike the facist US where their ignorant people think that their politicians arn't money and power mongering criminals.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 23, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Interesting article, but contains several "gaps":

1. As Ukrainian citizen, his name can't be a "Dmitry Ivanovich Golubov", but Dmytro Ivanovych Holubov.
2. It's a very long run between create a political party and to "be part of Government". Or even have just one seat at Parliament. Ukraine is not a "banana Republic", parties have a 3% barrier to entrance to Parliament. In the end of 2007, some political parties (like Socialist Party), haven't pass this barrier.
3. We even can be sure, that Mr. Holubov have officially register his party, more believable, that he have a plan to create a party, but as I say before, it's a long run...
4. And most important, you don't mention, that Holubov was arrested after Ukrainian Orange Revolution, event that try hardly to improve standards of Law & Order in Ukraine.

Blogger
http://ucrania-mozambique.blogspot.com

Posted by: Dmytro JNW | March 27, 2008 5:38 AM | Report abuse

ГЖО СМР !!!

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