Romanian hacker extradited to the US, after he contributed to the spread of the Gozi virus

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A Romanian accused of contributing to the distribution of a computer virus that infected more than 1 million computers and caused considerable financial losses worldwide has been extradited to the United States, federal prosecutors announced on Tuesday, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

Mihai Păunescu, aged 37, is accused of running a hosting service that helped distribute the Gozi virus. This virus steals personal banking information, while remaining undetectable.

Paunescu appeared for a first appearance on Monday in the federal court in Manhattan, where his detention was ordered. According to prosecutors, Gozi was one of the most financially destructive viruses in history, causing victims of losses of tens of millions of dollars.

The virus was first discovered in 2007 and infected at least 40,000 computers in the United States, including more than 160 computers owned by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Paunescu was extradited from Colombia following his arrest last year and was charged with conspiracy to commit computer intrusion and conspiracy to commit banking and electronic fraud.

Paunescu was previously arrested in Romania in 2012 and released on bail. The following year, US prosecutors announced charges against Mihai Paunescu and Nikita Kuzmin, the Russian creator of the virus, who secretly pleaded guilty in 2011 under a co-operation agreement.

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