Cybercriminal extradited for multimillion-dollar ‘scareware’ hacking scheme

Cybercriminal extradited for multimillion-dollar ‘scareware’ hacking scheme
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A Latvian man accused of participating in a multimillion-dollar “scareware” hacking scheme targeting the website of the Minneapolis Star Tribune has been extradited from Poland, the Justice Department announced.

Peteris Sahurovs made his initial appearance in federal court in Minneapolis on Monday, six years after being indicted on charges of wire fraud, computer fraud and conspiracy.

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Sahurovs, who is also known by the aliases “Piotrek” or “Sagade,” was at one point among the FBI’s top five most wanted cyber criminals. Sahurovs was arrested in Latvia in June 2011 but fled after being released by a court.

Scareware is a type of malicious software designed to trick victims into purchasing scam antivirus software.

According to the indictment, Sahurovs and his accomplices used fraudulent advertisements to spread the malware to the computers of victims visiting the Star Tribune’s website.

Once a computer was infected, the malware caused it to freeze and then generated pop-up warnings to trick the user into purchasing purported antivirus software. If purchased, the software stopped the computer from freezing but the malware continued to reside on the system. 

Those who did not purchase the purported antivirus software saw their information, data and files on the machine rendered inaccessible.

The scheme is said to have generated over $2 million in illegal profits.