The Scareware Scheme
December 13, 2011
This paper explores the topic of a “scareware” scheme that the police in the United States and seven other countries seized computer and servers used to run this scheme. The scheme netted more than $72 million from victims tricked into buying fake anti-virus software.
Keywords: scareware, victims, computer, software
I came across an article on the internet that is titled “FBI Busts $72 Million Cyber Crime Ring” which caught my attention immediately because I think we have all been challenged to buy anti-virus software at one time or another.
Twenty-two computers and servers were seized in the United States and 25 others in France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom. These computers were all used to run a “scareware” scheme that affected 960,000 victims. The goal of the scheme is to persuade the victim to voluntarily hand over credit card information, paying to resolve a nonexistent problem.
The Latvian authorities seized at least five bank accounts believed to have been used be the leaders of the scam, and the Justice Department said nothing about arrests. This article also reports that U.S. authorities charged two Latvians with running a similar scheme that led to $2 million in losses through an advertisement placed on a Minnesota newspaper’s website.
... wreak havoc and paint a bad picture of the software developers. While most computer users are not that familiar with viruses, they ... Mcafee.You can either purchase the software online or purchase off the shelf at any computer store. Once installed on your system ... want to be able to say that computers are vulnerable and instead of contacting the software maker and letting them know that ...
The evidence in this article is the computers and the servers that have been confiscated during the raid. I think that other evidence that would come into play would be the victim’s computers that were affected by the scheme. I think that statements from those victims would be a valuable source of evidence also. Another key evidence piece in this case would be any money or accounts that are tied to this scheme or at least the persons involved in the scheme. Phone records I would think could also play in to evidence.
Examples of reasons the defense might use to show the defendants did not commit the crime would be the amount of people involved in the scam. I mean, if only one person committed this crime and he or she was the only one with access to these computers they wouldn’t have a case. But, if numerous personnel had access to the computers I think the defense could use this. Also, it the defendants have an alibi that is confirmed by others the defense may use that too. The defense may even look at the procedures of how the computers and servers were seized to look for violations that the police force may have made in their process of conducting the raid. For instance, if the proper warrants were not obtained and the proper procedure was not followed there could be a loop hole that could work in favor of the defense.
In closing, I will go back to my original statement and say that I think we have all been affected by negative anti-virus software scams. We have to be very careful when we are using our computers and we have to make sure the anti-virus software that is purchased has been researched well.