Security & Fraud

Cybercriminal Ring Leader Gets Seven Years In Prison

Authorities have sentenced who they believe to be the leader of a major cybercrime enterprise to more than seven years in prison.

An Estonian man, named Vladimir Tsastsin, pled guilty last year to charges of distributing malware that infected over 4 million computers across the globe, Reuters reported on Tuesday (April 26).

U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan sentenced the man for his engagement in wire fraud and computer intrusion conspiracies, which Reuters said caused roughly $14 million in losses.

“It was brazen, it was sophisticated, it was outrageous,” Kaplan said during the court session.

According to Reuters, Tsastsin expressed deep regret over his actions and was also ordered to turn over $2.5 million.

Prosecutors of the case claimed that Tsastsin was known for doing “business in the shady corners of the Internet.”

Tsastsin, along with his co-conspirators, dispersed a form of malware known as DNS Changer that forced infected computers to rely on rogue servers that diverted users to search result pages where the criminals would receive traffic-based fees.

Initially, the fraud was distributed through a company called Rove Digital that was controlled by Tsastsin. Prosecutors said Tsastsin retrieved the malware from Russians and also had experience selling fake Internet traffic to ad networks.

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