Chasing the Phanton

My first cover story in WIRED focuses on a cybercrime case that’s long fascinated me, the hunt for the hacker behind the GameOver Zeus botnet and perhaps the most successful bank robber in the world.

It’s a fascinating story about a decade-long chase, most of which unfolded when the FBI didn’t even know the name of the person it was chasing.

The case also shows how Russian cybercrime has evolved—what started in the 1990s as individual hackers was taken over by large, sophisticated organized crime groups in the mid-2000s (like the group I write about here, known as “The Business Club”), and, most recently, these criminal groups have linked up with Russian government and intelligence agencies, effectively creating state-sanctioned criminals.