Russian man faces US charges related to Citadel malware

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ATLANTA — Federal prosecutors in Atlanta say a Russian man appeared in court on charges related to malicious software designed to steal personal financial information.

U.S. Attorney John Horn said in a news release that Mark Vartanyan, known as Kolypto, appeared in court Tuesday following extradition from Norway in December. Vartanyan faces a computer fraud charge.

Prosecutors say Vartanyan was involved in the development, improvement, maintenance and distribution of Citadel, which infects computer systems and steals financial and personal identification information. Industry estimates indicate it infected about 11 million computers worldwide and caused more than $500 million in losses.

Another Russian, Dimitry Belorossov, known as Rainerfox, was sentenced in September 2015 to serve four and a half years in prison after pleading guilty to charges stemming from an ongoing investigation into Citadel.