23 Jun 2011

International computer security team nabs hackers

Underscoring the importance of international cooperation when it comes to internet security, two global cyber crime rings have been disrupted by Operation Trident Tribunal, an undertaking of the United States and 11 other nations, the FBI announced yesterday.

The operation seized 22 computers and servers in the United States and 25 in Europe. According to the FBI, this equipment was being used to perpetrate a scareware scam, which involved hacking computers to convince victims to buy bogus security software. More than 960,000 users may have been duped by this scheme, to the tune of $72 million.

The FBI also announced Operation Trident Tribunal's work led to the June 21 arrest of two Latvian nationals for their roles in a "malvertising" scheme. The two men are accused of forming a fictitious advertising agency to buy an ad on the Minneapolis Star Tribune's website. The ad was made into a link through which victims were trapped into buying fake security software.

Earlier this month, computer security experts from NATO countries met in Tallinn, Estonia, just to the north of the accused Latvians' home country. In Tallinn, the North Atlantic alliance announced the creation of an international task force to prevent and respond to cyber crime.