US authorities announced today the dismantling of two networks dedicated to defrauding advertisers on the Internet and charged eight people, mostly Russian citizens, as alleged perpetrators.
Three of the accused have been arrested at the request of the United States. in Malaysia, Bulgaria and Estonia and are awaiting extradition, while the remainder have not been captured, the Brooklyn Public Prosecutor's Office in New York said in a statement.
According to the district attorney, Richard P. Donoghue, the alleged cybercriminals "used sophisticated computer programs and infrastructures around the world to exploit the digital advertising industry through fraud".
The authorities explained that between 2014 and 2016 the defendants operated a fraudulent advertising network, receiving money from advertisers whose content was not placed on real web pages, but in sites manufactured with simulated visits through a computer system.
For this, the network rented more than 1,900 servers in the USA. and other places he used to "create the illusion that real internet users were seeing ads on those fictitious pages".
According to the calculations of the prosecution, different advertisers paid in total more than 7 million dollars for advertising that was never seen by Internet users.
Meanwhile, between 2015 and 2018, some of the defendants operated another similar fraudulent system, in this case using more than 1.7 million computers infected with malign programs, the indictment says.
In that way, the network would have pocketed more than 29 million dollars for ads that were not really seen by anyone.
According to the statement, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) cooperated with authorities in several countries to dismantle these networks and to identify bank accounts in Switzerland and other places linked to the case.
Six of the eight defendants are Russians and two others are Kazakhs, all with ages between 30 and 40 years.
Among others, they face charges of fraud, computer intrusion, identity theft and money laundering.