An Estonian man has been sentenced to 87 months in prison by a US court for hacking into 4 million computers in over 100 countries and infecting them with malware. Vladimir Tsastsin and six accomplices were indicted for the sophisticated cybercrime that helped them make $14 million via a fraud scheme.
Tsastsin and his co-conspirators set up sham companies which entered into an arrangement with advertisement brokers to divert maximum traffic to particular advertisements or websites in return for payment "per click." They then used a virus to change the DNS server settings on the victims’ computers, automatically re-routing them to those websites or ads. The advertisers were unaware that these were illegitimate clicks via digital click-hijacking.
Additionally, the malware blocked the uploading of antivirus software as well as system updates on the infected machines, thus preventing the malware from being detected. This left the machines of the victims exposed to other malware.
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