hours 17:20 | Updated by adding that a raid f.b.i before this week was related to this investigation.
Federal authorities have broken two Latvian crime rings that say inserted malware into online ads that would infect the computers of victims with messages to buy fake antivirus software.
A group sold 72 million dollars worth of bogus software in three years, the Justice Department said Wednesday. The other caused at least $ 2 million in damages. His victims include the Minneapolis Star Tribune, which sold ad space online for your group.
The suspects distributed in what is known as "scareware," malicious software that the victims sometimes unknowingly download through online ads. Computer screens the victims are taken from messages threatening, saying that their equipment is infected with a variety of viruses and that they need to buy security software, which is in fact fraudulent.
Many people fell for the ruse giving their credit card information to purchase the software for up to $ 129.
F.b.i before a raid this week on a data center in Reston, Virginia, was related to the investigation of scareware, said a person familiar with the matter who insisted on anonymity. the FBI confiscated some servers that were extraneous to the investigations, by interfering with the websites and services including Instapaper, whose founder blogged about the situation on Thursday.
The first criminal group Latvia, who has used Web pages showing fake antivirus scans, among other scams, infected hundreds of thousands of computers, according to federal officials.
The second group bought ads on the website of The Minneapolis Star Tribune to distribute their malware. To help make their regime appear legitimate to the newspaper, have created a misleading advertising agency who claimed to represent the Best Western motel.
Initially, the accused submitted ads that normally worked. After getting the go-ahead from the staff of the newspaper to run ads, the accused have adjusted the computer code in ads so that they would infect the computers of visitors to the newspaper, the Justice Department said.
The defendants, Peteris Sahurovs, and Marina Maslobojeva, were arrested Tuesday in Latvia on the indictment Filed in U.s. District Court in Minneapolis.
"Today the operation targets cybercrime ring that stole millions of dollars from unsuspecting computer users," said Attorney General Lanny a. Breuer of the Criminal Division of the Department of justice. "These criminal enterprises infects computers of innocent victims with malicious scareware has caused them and then to purchase fake anti-virus software.
He continued: "Cybercrime is profitable and can prey on American consumers and companies from almost every corner of the globe. We will continue to be aggressive and innovative in our approach to combat this threat. At the same time, computer users must be vigilant in educating themselves on cybersecurity and take appropriate measures to prevent hazardous and expensive ".
the FBI and the Justice Department has worked with law enforcement on the investigation in some countries including the United Kingdom, France and Latvia. In all, they confiscated 47 computer. During the investigation, the Latvian authorities tried at least five bank accounts that were apparently used by scam artists.
The New York Times fell victim to a scareware scam similar in 2009. Eileen Murphy, a spokesman for the times, said the scams identified on Wednesday appeared to be similar, but which were so common that it was difficult to know if there was a link.