Feeds

Italian smut virus scammer jailed for 14 months

Pronto pronto

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

A 39-year-old Italian man convicted of running a porn dialler scam was last week jailed for 14 months on fraud and virus distribution charges. The unnamed perp was also fined €3,000 by a Milan court, after pleading guilty to masterminding an elaborate virus writing scam designed to fleece gullible Windows users. The case marks the first conviction for virus writing in Italy, Italian tech daily Punto Informatico reports.

The nameless crook stood to net €104,000 from a scam which tricked users into running a virus, called Voltan, which altered the internet dial-up number used by victims to a premium rate line. Voltan (AKA Marq-A), first seen in October 2003, directs potential victims to a website where a malicious program posing as a screensaver can be downloaded. If run, the virus changes the phone number used for accessing the internet to a premium-rate number based in Aruba, in the Dutch Antilles.

Investigators claim that after just three days more than 57,000 minutes were logged on the premium-rate number at an estimated cost of €104,000. The scam was uncovered and blocked when the perp returned to Italy from Venezuela to negotiate extra telephone lines, La Repubblica reports. Italian financial police were able to freeze the money accrued through the 'viral marketing' scheme. Funds were first sent to a New York bank account, transferred to Venezuela, before ending up in an account belonging to a ghost company in Aruba.

The text used in the virus was Italian, so it found few takers outside the country. Voltan arrived in the form of an email with the subject line "The moment is cathartic", which directed users to download a supposed screensaver called zelig.scr. Flavio Oreglio, one of the stars of the Italian TV show Zelig, is the author of a book called The moment is cathartic and this may have induced some recipients to download the malicious program. Zelig is also the name of a 1980s Woody Allen film about a man who travels through history, assuming a number of different guises. ®

Related stories

Italian charged in porn dialler virus scam
Italian Senate in gay porn worm attack outrage
Spanish webcam Trojan perv gets slapped wrist
Blaster copycat author jailed for 18 months
Russian fined for virus-writing exploits

The next step in data security

More from The Register

next story
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Infosec geniuses hack a Canon PRINTER and install DOOM
Internet of Stuff securo-cockups strike yet again
'Speargun' program is fantasy, says cable operator
We just might notice if you cut our cables
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
Greater dev access to iOS 8 will put us AT RISK from HACKERS
Knocking holes in Apple's walled garden could backfire, says securo-chap
Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't
We know what's good for you, because we made the mess says Redmond
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.