Federal authorities extradited a Latvian man from Poland to charge him in a "scareware" and hacking criminal case, which targeted readers of the Minneapolis Star Tribune website, the Department of Justice announced this week.
Peteris Sahurovs, a 28-year-old man who at one time was No. 5 on the FBI's Most Wanted List for cybercriminals, allegedly pilfered more than $2 million from the Minneapolis Star Tribune's readers.
Creating a fake advertising agency, Sahurovs and his cohorts purchased online advertising space from the Minneapolis Star Tribune for a bogus American hotel chain, according to the indictment. After the ad began to run, the group changed the ad's computer code to infect startribune.com visitors with malware.
Once the readers got infected with malware, their computers would "freeze up" and show pop-up warnings that they needed to purchase "antivirus" software to fix the bogus problem. When affected readers purchased the phony antivirus software, the pop-up ads ceased and they could access the data and files on their computers, whereas those that didn't make the purchase lost access to the data.
Read more about the "scareware" scheme here.