July 23 (UPI) -- The United States has announced it is offering a reward of up to $2 million for information that leads to the arrests or convictions of two Ukrainian hackers.
The U.S. State Department and Secret Service on Wednesday announced the two $1-million rewards for help detaining Artem Viacheslavovich Radchenko and Oleksandr Vitalyevich Ieremenko, Ukrainian nationals who have been accused of stealing information from the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission in 2016.
In a statement, the Secret Service said it was the first time the agency had offered a monetary award in soliciting assistance from the global public.
"For the first time in agency history, we are able to strategically leverage resources worldwide in the pursuit of a wanted fugitive charged with the exploitation and manipulation of our financial systems," Secret Service Director James M. Murray said in a statement.
According to the 16-count indictment unsealed in January 2019, Radchenko, 28, and Ieremenko, 29, hacked the SEC's Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis and Retrieval system and stole thousands of files.
The two men gained access to the system through a series of cyberattacks and infecting computers with malware, the indictment said, adding that once they were in the system, they copied the filings to servers they controlled.
"Radchenko and Ieremenko's scheme focused on stealing annual, quarterly and current reports of publicly traded companies before the reports were disseminated," the State Department said in a statement. "Many of the stolen reports contained material non-public information concerning, among other things, the earnings of the companies."
The two men, it said, attempted to profit from selling the undisclosed reports and by trading in the securities of the companies before the investing public learned what they knew from the stolen documents.
The State Department said Radchenko recruited Ieremenko and other hackers in Ukraine between February 2016 and March 2017.
"Cybercriminals do not observe nor respect the rule of law in any country," U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday in a statement. "As their criminal reach is worldwide, we welcome the cooperation and coordination of all governments to bring these criminals to justice and protect innocent citizens throughout the world."
Ieremenko was previously indicted in 2015 along with eight others for hacking into three business newswires to steal undisclosed press releases containing non-public financial information to make illegal trades, generating an estimated $30 million.
The rewards were offered in partnership between the State Department's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs and the Secret Services' Transnational Organized Crime Rewards Program, which was founded in 2013 to help the government dismantle international criminal groups.