Law enforcement agents across a dozen countries joined forces to bring down two international cyber crime rings suspected of causing $74 million in losses to more than 1 million victims, the FBI announced Wednesday.
Two individuals from the northern European country Lativa were arrested Tuesday and indicted on charges filed in Minnesota, where the two allegedly created a phony advertising agency. Peteris Sahurovs, 22, and Marina Maslobojeva, 23 claimed they represented a hotel chain that wanted to purchase online advertising space on the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s news website, according to details about the indictment in a news release.
Dubbed “Operation Trident Tribunal,” the coordinated effort included officers from the United States, France, Canada, Germany and other countries and zeroed in on the scareware scams, where malicious software is sold as legitimate computer software.
Investigators seized more than 40 computers, servers and bank accounts throughout the United States and several European countries, following scareware scams investigated by FBI offices in Seattle and Minneapolis.
Here are some FBI tips on how to spot scareware:
- Scareware pop-ups may look like actual warnings from your system, but some elements aren’t fully functional. For instance, you may see a list of reputable icons—like software companies or security publications—but you can’t click through to go to those actual sites.
- Scareware pop-ups are hard to close, even after clicking on the “Close” or “X” button.
- Fake antivirus products are designed to appear legitimate, with names such as Virus Shield, Antivirus, or VirusRemover.