back to article 3 men charged in $100m scareware scam

Federal prosecutors have accused three men of running an operation that used fraudulent ads to dupe internet users around the world into buying more than $100m worth of bogus anti-virus software. The defendants operated companies including Innovative Marketing and Byte Hosting Internet Services, which perpetuated an elaborate …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They made 100000000USD?!

    A hundred MILLION Dollars? Using scareware around 50 USD a shot?


    Truly amazing.

    Hand them cigars, these guys could make Itanium profitable!

    AC, because of the Itanic flame. Sorry Matt, I just had to...

  2. call me scruffy

    The end of the world as we know it...

    If these people are genuinely the snake oil salesmen that have been flogging winfixer(sic) then I can't think of better examples of people to go down for online fraud.

    They've made users lives a misery, I'm sure more than few techies have had to clear their shitty malware out of the machines of parents, girlfriends, boyfriends, etc. They've endlessly spread fear and confusion, and profited from every second of it. I'm sure globally they've done a few man-lifetimes worth of damage either in false sales, the hassle their "product" has caused, and the lack of protection that users end up with.

    Maybe I'm just cranky before my morning coffee, but if by some contrived fluke of fate they somehow end up in the chair, I shall fly to the states, and spend the rest of my days camping infront of deathrow with a stereo blaring "Burn Baby Burn" and petitioning for the voltage to be low and take as long as possible. Since they've got an eternity of pain and suffering to look forward to, a few more hours in this world won't really count that much.

    I have wanted to seriously hurt these people since the first time their advert tried to squeze an EXE onto my machine in (I think) 2004.

    May they locked in stocks at the end of the shower block... if these are they of course.

  3. Alan Firminger

    I remember when all this was grass

    Register published an excellent article on scareware a couple of years ago. Is it still accessible, and where ?

    1. James O'Shea


      The article you want is 'Anatomy of a Malware Scam' and dates from 22 Aug 2008. It's available in El Reg's archives. It's a really great article.

  4. Einstein's Smarter Brother

    How much?!

    Does anyone ever wonder why these guys are so greedy? You can't realistically spend that much, and it's an awkward amount to divide by three! Why not stop at say $1m or $2m each? And then they'd probably have got away with it

  5. David Lawrence

    Hang 'em high!!

    Throw the book at them, then execute them, in public. They make the Internet such a miserable and dangerous place. As one of the geeks that has had to clean up a large number of infected computers for friends and family I hate them so badly it hurts.

    One of the variants I tried to deal with was amazingly cunning, using multiple devious trick to prevent its removal (disable Task Manager & System Restore, disable anti-virus software, prevent installation of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, etc etc). In the end all I could do was a full 'factory restore' to get rid of it.

    On second thoughts, don't hang them - lock them up for life and make them do nothing but write 'antidote' software to get rid of whatever comes next.

  6. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Time to wake up, and wise up, you dozy dolts

    Meanwhile, bankers are responsible for fleecing trillions and they get bonuses and not even a slap on the wrist. ..... and you feel their pain and are certainly paying dearly for their pleasures.

    Man is such an idiot and you cannot dispute that fact.

  7. TRT Silver badge

    They should...

    They should put them in prison then come by every so often and rattle the keys in the door and say "Come on, you're getting out today", then just leave the door locked. Oh, and they should be treated to regular "pop ups" in the shower block. Mind you, they've kept me in a job.

  8. HooHah!
    Jobs Horns

    Unindicted Co-conspirators

    How many of the alleged victims are running operating systems that are not Microsoft products?

    While I'm all in favor of nailing these bozos' hides to the wall (after a fair trial, of course), it was Microsoft negligence that made this scam possible. How about fining M$ the money necessary to give each victim a full refund, compensation for their time and the Linux installation CD of their choice? They could pay it out of petty cash.

  9. Ammaross Danan


    It's about time the Antivirus 2008 people were caught. I can't walk 10 feet without bumping into someone that is gullible (read, uninformed) enough to actually follow the popups and manage to get this installed on their computer. I say, one they're convicted, force them to change the "now click here to pay us money" with a popup briefly educating the victim about malware scams, then automatically cleanly remove the malware.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    So tell me how do you stop the end user from down loading a program and then running it ? The number one reason why Linux is so better with security is because the user are educated about computers. While it might involve more steps , these numpties would down load the program and w hen it askes for the root password they would enter it . This was not a virus but some thing these people willing clicked on and down loaded . So please tell me how thats MS fault ?

  11. bex
    Gates Halo

    MICROSOFTS Fault ?

    Windows is insecure by design but with Vista/7 the malware infections have got easier to get rid of as they usually run now at the top level.. Windows is the OS of choice for the vast majority of computer users many of them who's computer knowledge is minimal so this sort of infection is inevitable and gets me quite a lot of work.

  12. sad_loser


    there will always be stupid users. However, if you say to to a luser 'would you like to drive this van around, and by the way, the back doors don't lock, they would say 'why not - that's stupid - people will just get in and steal stuff'.

    The problem is that the microtard just wants a cheap shiny box to surf the information superinterweb they don't bother about the doors being open. I think the van designer is responsible for looking after that side of things - no one else.

  13. Brass

    What about the workers?

    If the feds keep taking the people down how will I earn a living? 70% of my business is restoring PCs after their owners have infected them...........

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    its not just wintards. I do tech support for an ISP and I'd get my share of mac users that would click on those scare ware and complain that it did not run. Never mid it said windows has found a problem. Most of my mac customers don't run anti virus software . Thats why I'm surprised no is really writing malware for the mac .

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