FBI Targets Cyber Security Scammers
Windows 8 logo A gang that made more than $72m peddling fake security software has been shut down in a series of raids. The raids were co-ordinated by the FBI and were carried out in the US, UK and six other countries. The gangs were selling software that allegedly found security risks on PC’s and then asked for cash to correct non-existent problems. 40 computers were seized that utilized fake scans and webpage hosting.
Approximately one million people are thought to have installed fake security software, also known as “scareware”. The victims paid up to $129 for a copy. Those that did not pay, but downloaded a code were bombarded with pop-ups warning them about supposed security issues.
In Latvia, as part of the attack on the gang, raids were conducted to gain control of five bank accounts that were used to funnel cash to ringleaders. No arrests were made, but FBI stated that the computers seized will be analyzed and the investigation would continue. The international raids were dubbed as Operation Trident Tribunal. Twelve nations were associated with this project to thwart two separate gangs peddling scareware.
Another gang used booby-trapped advertisements to dupe its victims. Raids by Latvia police led to the arrest of Peteris Sahurovs and Marina Maslobojeva, the alleged operators. According to FBI, this pair pretended to be an advertising agency soliciting advertisements for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Once running the ads, the two changed the ads to install fake security software on victims’ computers that mimicked a viral infection. Upon payment the infection was cured. Those, not paying found their computers unusable until cash was paid. In total, about $2m was received by the perpetrators.
“Scrareware is just another tactic cyber criminals are using to profit from citizens and businesses around the world” stated the assistant director Gordon Snow of FBI’s Cyber Division.
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