Russian man who helped develop Citadel malware gets 5 years

By KATE BRUMBACK Features Associated Press

A Russian man who helped develop and distribute malicious software designed to steal personal financial information has been sentenced to five years in prison.

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Mark Vartanyan was sentenced Wednesday in Atlanta after pleading guilty in March to a computer fraud charge. He's getting credit for time served, including about two years in a Norwegian prison before he was extradited to the U.S. in December.

Prosecutors say Vartanyan helped develop, improve, maintain and distribute Citadel, which infects computer systems and steals financial and personal identification information. Industry estimates indicate it infected about 11 million computers worldwide, causing more than $500 million in losses.

Prosecutor Steven Grimberg told the judge Vartanyan has shown remorse and has cooperated with the government from the start.