US charges seven computer hijackers

Last Updated: Thursday, November 10, 2011 - 11:12

New York: US prosecutors have charged seven
persons, including one Russian, in a massive internet fraud
scheme in which more than four million computers across 100
countries, including those of US government agencies and NASA,
were infected with malicious software and USD 14 million were
made through fake online advertising.

Six Estonian nationals Vladimir Tsastsin, Timur
Gerassimenko, Dmitri Jegorov, Valeri Aleksejev, Konstantin
Poltev and Anton Ivanov were arrested and taken into custody
yesterday in Estonia.

The US Attorney`s Office will seek their extradition to
America. The seventh defendant, Andrey Taame, a Russian
national, remains at large.

Each individual is charged with five counts of wire and
computer intrusion crimes and faces up to 30 years in prison.

Terming the case the "tip of the Internet iceberg," US
Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara
said of the four million computers infected worldwide in the
fraud, at least 500,000 were in the US including computers
belonging to agencies such as NASA, educational institutions,
non-profit organisations and commercial businesses.

"These defendants gave new meaning to the term `false
advertising.` They were international cyber bandits who
hijacked millions of computers at will and re-routed them to
internet websites and advertisements of their own
choosing collecting millions in undeserved commissions for all
the hijacked computer clicks and Internet ads they
fraudulently engineered," Bharara said.

According to the indictment, between 2007 and October
2011, the defendants used malware to secretly alter settings
on infected computers and digitally hijacked internet
searches.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, November 10, 2011 - 11:12

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