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Feds crack multi-million scareware ring

Multinational gang face 20 years

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The Department of Justice and the FBI have cracked an international scareware ring believed to have scammed over $72m (£45m).

Operation Trident Tribunal seized more than 40 computers and servers and arrested two people in Latvia. 22 computers were seized in the US along with 25 machines in France, Germany, Latvia, Lithunia, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK.

The gang screwed money out of more than a million victims. They installed software on their computers which falsely claimed to have detected viruses or malware. The gang then took payment for supposedly cleaning up the machines.

About 960,000 machines were infected with the scareware and $72m ($45m) extracted from worried users.

22-year-old Peteris Sahurovs and 23-year-old Marina Maslobojeva were arrested in Latvia on charges made in court in Minnesota. The two are accused of taking out an advert on the Minneapolis Star Tribune website. IT staff at the paper's website tested the advert and found no problems with it.

The two are accused of then changing code within the advert so it infected computers of users of the website. Computers froze and were plastered with pop-ups offering to fix the problems.

The Feds claim the scam caused $2m in losses. The two accused face 20 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000 if found guilty.

The FBI press release is here.

The Feds worked with police in Cyprus, Germany, Latvia, Ukraine, France, Romania, the Mounted Police in Canada and London's Met Police. ®

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