Police Catches Hackers Spreading Viruses In Internet To Earn Money

Russian police have arrested ten people of a criminal group that installed harmful "ransomware" programs on several systems and then compelled users to send SMS messages for unlocking their systems, as reported by PCWorld on August 31, 2010.

Police officers carried nearly 20 searches, in which they seized computer equipment and documents, proving their crime. All the ten members of the criminal family, caught, are young; all of them are Muscovites, computer operators.

The gang has allegedly spread virus programs through news websites known as Winlock and various other Internet websites, which include social networks that disrupted the operation of user's system.

Operatives of the city police directorate for fighting economic crimes have informed reporters, that the suspects made a computer virus that disrupted all programs on the users' systems and placed an obscene picture on the screen, with a demand to send a message to a particular number to get a code that would reportedly unblock the system, as reported by the rt on August 31, 2010.

The SMS cost victims around 300 roubles or $10. But, the SMS never yielded any results and some of the users have even sent the message many times.

As per preliminary calculations, almost 3,000 Web users were attacked by hackers in April 2010 alone, including in CIS countries. As per police data, the yearly profit of law-breakers touched one billion roubles.

Dave Marcus, Director of McAfee Labs security research communications, stated that the software was not a very refined threat. He added that it only locked the screen with an unknown password, which was not very sophisticated, as reported by PCWorld on August 31, 2010.

Though the virus extortion scheme is prevalent in the world (it even has the special title of "ransomware"), Russians were perhaps the first ones to invent the virus that disrupts the Windows operating system totally.

The Moscow investigative branch of the Russian Investigation Committee filed a case against the criminals under two articles of the Russian Criminal Code- "swindling" and "creation, use and spread of malicious programs for computers".

Related article: Police Arrests Six Suspects Associated With TJX Credit Scam

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