(WASHINGTON) -- Two Latvian citizens have been arrested overseas for their operation of malicious computer programs which cost computer users over $74 million in losses by selling fake anti-virus software for computers. An estimated 960,000 people were victims in the scam, which is known as “Scareware.”
Scareware is a fake security alert on a users computer which says, for example, “Warning! There is a virus on your computer…Remove now,” and asks to initiate a system scan and clean-up to counter the potential virus or malware. In reality, once users click “Remove now” they unknowingly have exposed themselves to malware and keylogger programs which are then used to harvest private and financial data from computer users. Some of these programs ask computer users to purchase the software for clean-up or anti-virus software which further exposes their credit card data when they believe they are buying the bogus software.
The two operators of this scareware scheme have been charged with two counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of computer fraud. The defendants, Peteris Sahurovs, 22, and Marina Maslobojeva, 23, were arrested Tuesday in Rezekne, Latvia. It is unclear how long the extradition process may take.
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