Accused Kelihos malware mastermind protests his innocence

Graham Cluley
Graham Cluley
@[email protected]

Andrey Sabelnikov, who Microsoft accused last week of being the mastermind behind the Kelihos botnet, has protested his innocence.

The 31-year-old programmer from St Petersburg became the subject of headlines around the world after Microsoft told US courts that they believed he created the Kelihos malware, and alleged that he “used the malware to control, operate, maintain and grow the Kelihos botnet”.

According to Microsoft, up to 4 billion spam emails were sent every day by computers infected by the malware and commandeered into the Kelihos botnet.

What particularly raised eyebrows is Sabelnikov’s background – which includes a stint working as a senior developer and product manager at Agnitum, a Russian firm well-known for its firewall and other security software.

There is no suggestion that Agnitum are connected with the allegations, or that their security software – which includes…

Read more in my article on the Naked Security website.

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Graham Cluley is a veteran of the cybersecurity industry, having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s when he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows. Now an independent analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and is an international public speaker on the topic of cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

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