01 Jun 2010
FBI busts leaders of fake antivirus software ring
The Federal Bureau of Investigation recently announced the indictment of three men in connection with a fake antivirus software scam that netted the accused more than $100 million. Authorities charged the three men, two of which were U.S. citizens, with multiple counts of wire fraud and a single count of computer fraud and conspiracy to commit computer fraud.
The three men set up fake advertising agencies and sold banner ads to websites that were actually fake antivirus software warnings laced with malware. Computers that installed the file when prompted received a virus, which the cyber criminals used to sensitive personal information.
The scam included a call center that the masterminds implemented to convince users not to report the scam to their credit card companies and to award refunds if people threatened to do so.
Federal and state authorities pursuing cyber crime cases in court has become a trend in 2010 as they respond to the growing threat. Albert Gonzalez, who led an attack that stole more than 90 million credit and debit card numbers from various retail stores in Massachusetts, received 20 years in prison and a fine of $25,000 in restitution for his crimes.