International co-operation leads to scareware arrests

Posted by   Virus Bulletin on   Jun 27, 2011

ChronoPay co-founder arrested for DDoS attacks on rivals.

Last week, Russian authorities arrested Pavel Vrublevsky, co-founder of ChronoPay, Russia's largest processor of online payments, for performing a DDoS attack on the company's rivals.

Based on leaked emails, security researchers believe Vrublevsky and his company are also behind prominent rogue online pharmacy programs as well as scareware and rogue anti-virus scams. In the particular case of the recent 'MacDefender' scams, however, ChronoPay strenuously denies any involvement.

Also last week, law enforcement agencies in eight different countries broke up a gang that is believed to have made 74 million US dollars through rogue anti-virus products. As part of the operation, almost 50 computers and servers were taken down and two Latvians residing in the US were arrested.

Rogue anti-virus scams have become very prominent in recent years - which is not surprising, considering the amount of money made by this gang alone. Moreover, many of the millions of victims of such scams may not even realise they have been scammed. (After all, most rogue anti-virus products stop annoying the user once they have paid, leading them to believe that indeed a problem had been solved.)

The security industry has an important role to play. Firstly, by making sure users' computers are properly protected so that rogue security programs have little chance of finding their way onto them in the first place, but also by educating users about the dangers of such scams and how to avoid them.

More on Vrublevsky's arrest at security journalist Brian Krebs' blog here, while the FBI press release related to the scareware case can be found here.

In the keynote address for VB2011, Bob Burls of the UK's Police Central e-Crime Unit, and F-Secure's Mikko Hyppönen will discuss the co-operation between law enforcement agencies in various countries and the anti-virus industry that led to arrests and convictions of members of the 'm00p' malware writing group.

Posted on 27 June 2011 by Virus Bulletin

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