Feds: Seven charged in alleged worldwide Internet scheme

Six Estonian nationals have been arrested for allegedly conducting operations targeting 500,000 U.S.-based computers.

Story highlights

  • Seven men are charged in an Internet scheme that allegedly spanned 100 countries
  • Six of the men are Estonian and one is Russian, who remains at large
  • The group allegedly conducted operations targeting 500,000 U.S.-based computers.
  • Authorities say the group gained accessed to the computers remotely
Seven men were charged Wednesday for their alleged roles in a worldwide Internet scheme that used a computer virus to infect more than 4 million computers in over 100 countries, according to federal prosecutors.
The alleged ruse helped the men collect at least $14 million in advertising revenue, the U.S. attorney's office for the Southern District of New York said in a statement.
The suspects -- six Estonian nationals who were arrested Tuesday in Estonia, and a Russian man who remains at large -- allegedly conducted operations targeting 500,000 U.S.-based computers.
The computers included those in government agencies, such as NASA; educational institutions; non-profit groups; commercial businesses; and private users, the statement said.
U.S. authorities said they are currently seeking extradition of the suspects who are in custody, and are searching for the lost funds.
The men were identified as Estonians Vladmir Tsastsin, 31, Timur Gerassimenko, 31, Dmitri Jegorov, 33, Konstantin Poltev, 28, Anton Ivanov, 26, Valeri Aleksejev, 31 and Russian national Andrey Taame, 31.
It is unclear if the suspects have attained legal council and they could not be immediately reached for comment.
Authorities said the suspects gained accessed to the computers remotely -- using malware -- and were able to send users to phony websites largely without their knowledge.