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FBI Shuts Down Major Scareware Gang 84

Posted by samzenpus
from the throw-away-the-product-key dept.
Trailrunner7 writes "The FBI has made a major dent in the huge scareware and rogue antivirus problem, arresting two people and seizing dozens of computers, servers and bank accounts as part of a large-scale coordinated operation in twelve countries. The operation, which involved authorities in the United States, Germany, France, Latvia, the UK and several other nations, was designed to disrupt the scareware ecosystem that has been preying on users' security fears in an effort to scam them out of millions of dollars in licensing fees for useless or outright malicious software."
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FBI Shuts Down Major Scareware Gang

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  • by VIPERsssss (907375) on Thursday June 23, 2011 @11:44AM (#36543216)
    ...Echelon has more clock cycles available.
    • Shutting down a two person operation = massive dent in the problem? How many hundreds of people were raided by copyright SWATs?

      • Copyright SWATs are only working in the interest of the corporations, not the general public, therefore copyright SWATs aren't working to deter an actual problem, just a noisome behaviour.
  • well crap! (Score:5, Funny)

    by uncanny (954868) on Thursday June 23, 2011 @11:47AM (#36543266)
    Now who's going to fix the virus that a virus scanner on a porn-site-popup tells me that i have?
  • Thanks FBI! I finally get to hear less from my mom about her computer troubles... hopefully... who the hell am I kidding...
    • Buying the mother-in-law an iPad was the best money I ever spent. Let's see her get AntiVirus2009 installed on -that- thing.

      Dammit she's calling my phone right now.
  • by Bobakitoo (1814374) on Thursday June 23, 2011 @11:52AM (#36543352)
    I can't believe they have shutdown Symentec. I am forwarding this to everyone!
  • Or just use it to fund their "War of Drugs"

  • If you think offshore servers are safe from the long arm of US law, you're in for a big surprise.. It all looks good when they go after spammers and such, but next it will be anything the FBI, DEA, or DHS, or whoever considers a 'threat'..

    Be sure to hide the roaches..

  • No matter how many people you arrest, more will take there place.

    The sad, simple fact is that you can't fix stupid. No matter how much you try to educate the end user, they don't seem to listen. If Joe Public wasn't so uneducated about it the problem would go away entirely.
    • by spauldo (118058)

      I think that'll be a generational issue. Today's children are growing up with computers, whereas most of my generation didn't.

      Most people who are computer literate don't fall for these scams. Once the computer illiterate die off, it'll be a lot harder to scam people using these methods. There will still be scams, but there were scams before the internet too.

      Sure, devices will change, and software will change, and people will fall behind, but I doubt we'll see the kind of technological revolution that the

      • On the contrary, the "computer illiterate" group you're talking about is growing, not dying off. While it's true that more and more people own computers every day, there is a considerably larger market share of "casual" users than there was ten years ago. With operating systems getting easier to use and more tailored to the general public, the amount of real understanding any given user needs in order to mistakenly install malware/scareware is continuing to go down.

        I think it's going to get worse (more pro
        • by spauldo (118058)

          That's what I meant by generational. A large number of those casual users are people of my generation or older.

          My dad clicks on spam stuff all the time. My sister, who just turned 18 (she's a lot younger than me) doesn't. She's less technical than my dad is - she's just been using the internet most of her life, and knows better.

    • The sad, simple fact is that you can't fix stupid. No matter how much you try to educate the end user, they don't seem to listen. If Joe Public wasn't so uneducated about it the problem would go away entirely.

      We could fix all 7,000,000,000 people in existence, or we could just fix all 3 operating systems that anyone uses. Which is more practical?

      The problem is that current OSes make it very easy to install software and give it full privileges, and very hard to install software and give it only limited privi

      • by Smauler (915644)

        (in both Windows and *nix, you have to create a new user account for it, but Windows is worst because most programs can't even be installed unless you're running as administrator)

        I run as admin all the time on my Vista machine. I do this because :

        Only I use it.
        My sytem files are replaceable.
        My user files are the most important to me.
        It's way more convenient.

        Running as a limited user on Windows does not protect your user files, obviously - you have full access to them. I've recently had a couple of ma

  • by madhatter256 (443326) on Thursday June 23, 2011 @12:16PM (#36543668)

    Watchout Symantec, you're next on the FBI's list!!! Always bugging people that you need to be renewed, bugging people that their license will expire in 60 months and that it needs to be renewed immediately to stop that from happening. Letting most viruses go through undetected and infect the PC. Taking over the PC and making it difficult to get rid of by always encountering some sort of 'error' while uninstalling or leaving shit behind that allows it to reinstall itself (Norton 2004 heydays).

    McAfee, you're next, too!!!

    • And unfortunately this isn't isolated to symantec. All the majority of antivirus applications do is eat up cpu.
      • Correct. That's why I switched to a Unix-like.

        Maybe the doomsayers have a point. Maybe one day, the malware makers will target Linux, and I'll have a virus laden *nix machine that can't boot it's sorry self up. But, that day is down the road, somewhere. Today, I'm enjoying a computer running full speed, unencumbered by any cycle-hungry security software.

        Maybe I should apologize now to my great-great-great-grandchildren for being so selfish and uncaring?

        Nahhhhh - screw the little jerks. They won't be br

        • I always find it amusing when a "your computer is infected1!!" windows style popup comes up on my linux machine.
          • by Tarlus (1000874)

            ... and with a convincing-looking "My Computer" window, showing hundreds of viruses on the "C Drive." Always amusing.

  • More info... (Score:3, Informative)

    by nlewis (1168711) on Thursday June 23, 2011 @12:18PM (#36543682)

    Either I'm not seeing a lot of detail in the linked article, or it's just not there. This one has more info:

          BBC News - FBI targets cyber security scammers
          http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-13887152 [bbc.co.uk]

  • What it doesn't say is whose dozens they took down / stole. The wording of the correct. It doesn't say "dozens of computers, servers and bank accounts associated with the culprits", does it?

    http://blog.instapaper.com/ [instapaper.com]

  • by return 42 (459012)

    Scareware? Antivirus? Oh yeah, I remember now! That stuff Windows users have to worry about.

    • by spauldo (118058)

      It's annoying for Linux users too. Google images if full of links to sites that try to run a virus scan and force you to download their stupid product.

      Unless you close the tab quickly, you'll likely have to kill firefox altogether because of the modal windows that it pops up. One more reason modal windows are fucking evil.

      • by return 42 (459012)

        Really? I haven't been getting those at all. Some plugin I installed and forgot about, maybe.

        • by spauldo (118058)

          I only run across them myself on Google images, so maybe your usage just doesn't match the targets they're aiming for. If it is a plugin, I'd like to know what it is so I can stop getting them.

  • It came in through holes in Flash and Microsoft's crappy javascript interpreter. I yanked the network cable from the box, but it was too late. As I was researching what to do about the Virus Scan Pro 2000 it then tried repeatedly to launch IE to pr0n websites. Took a full weekend to repair the PC and it's never quite worked the same, since, thanks in part to Microsoft's All Your Eggs In One Basket system architecture.

    Nice people. I hope they are buried in cement.

    • by sconeu (64226)

      My daughter got one of these on her laptop... during finals week... (ugh).

      Luckily, she had already printed out and/or submitted all her term papers.

      The damn thing also installed a MBR virus (at least FIXMBR reported a changed MBR).

      I wound up booting from a Linux LiveCD, copying her "My Documents" and "My Pictures" onto flash. Then I *ZEROED* /dev/sda before I reinstalled XP from scratch.

      I hope they lock these bastards up and throw away the key.

    • Why do people always over react? Buried in cement? What, you think these little turds are worthy of a Jimmy Hoffa ending? Those kind of funeral arrangements are reserved for people who piss of really IMPORTANT people. You know, powerful people. So, these guys pissed off a few little pissants, stole a few million dollars, and prevented you from logging into WOW for a weekend. Phhht. They don't deserve anything better than being shot, and left for the dogs to eat. Just regular scum, not worth gettting

      • by Tarlus (1000874)

        Why do people always over react?

        They don't deserve anything better than being shot, and left for the dogs to eat.

        I'd call that overreacting.

      • The only thing I agree with in your post is the scammers don't deserve to be executed, but the rest is just fucking idiocy. You seem to imply that the people involved aren't important or powerful. A multination effort resulting in the arrest of these assholes implies otherwise. Most people with a computer and access to the internet have had to deal with some form of malware at some point, and almost certainly were pissed off about it. Apparently these people you so kindly refer to as pissants were power
        • Actually, some of us blame the problem on the users who insist on using an insecure operating system. Worse, they use those insecure operating systems in stupid ways.

          Would you like to see a video of dancing pink ponies? Just click the Windows executable, wait for it to download, then click through all the silly Windows warnings - don't worry about all those warnings!

  • Just yesterday, we had a story about the FBI seizing servers in virginia [slashdot.org] and most of the comments were negative. Of course, in this thread, most of the comments are positive.

    One difference is we know the purpose of the seizures in this case, which makes it seem less fly-by-night, but I wonder how the hosting providers felt when the servers were first seized. Not that we should let the FBI seize whatever, whenever, but sometimes quick action to seize evidence is necessary, even if it inconveniences others
    • from what I can tell they are the same event.

      http://blog.instapaper.com/post/6830514157 [instapaper.com]
    • The problem with yesterday's FBI story was the ham-fisted way that servers were removed from the data center, causing outages for legitimate customers in addition to taking the bad guys offline.

      • by Rockoon (1252108)
        Some might argue that the hosting companies that enable the peddling of scareware are also 'the bad guys'
  • http://blog.instapaper.com/post/6830514157 [instapaper.com]

    Marco Arment explains his version of the situation in his blog. Basically, the FBI has this "drug bust" proximity to the evidence must also be evidence mentality to executing a search warrant. Anything unrelated to the crime could have been loaded on adjacent servers. Did they only need one search warrant for DigitalOne?
    • The blog is a place to vent. The fact of the matter is that unlike other circumstances where one would be justified in filing a complaint that their hardware was illegally seized, there was well documented warrant that was executed. Now, I also realize that other hardware was taken as they were hauling off entire racks of servers. The individuals complaining about this procedure lack both an understanding of exigent circumstances and cryptography. In many cases exigent circumstances are cited as a bull
  • Why not do something about those TV commercials which advertise virus protection and instantly fix your computer while of course also making the Internet faster? They are all worthless scams...whats the difference?

  • Lets try rearranging some of the words in that summary to encapsulate the message...


    The operation, which involved authorities in the United States, Germany, France, Latvia, the UK and several other nations, seizing dozens of computers, servers and bank accounts as part of a large-scale coordinated operation in twelve countries, made a major dent in the huge scareware and rogue antivirus problem, arresting two people .
  • Fox news is off the air? When?

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