Scareware Payment Processor Gets Four-Year Sentence

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Swedish credit card payment processor Mikael Patrick Sallnert was recently sentenced to 48 months in jail, along with a $650,000 fine, for his involvement in an international cybercrime ring that used scareware to steal a total of $71 million from approximately 960,000 victims.

"Techniques used to snare victims included fake web sites claiming to offer free anti-virus software -- in reality scareware -- which when downloaded and run, claimed to have identified multiple infections with trojans and viruses," The H Security reports. "Users were then instructed to purchase the anti-virus software for around $129 in order to remedy the infections. According to statements made by the defendant, he provided the infrastructure for processing the scareware transactions despite being aware that fraud was being perpetrated."

"In one year alone, between August 2008 and October 2009, the online payment company owned by the suspect had processed around $5 million," writes Softpedia's Eduard Kovacs.

"The man was arrested in Denmark in January this year and extradited to the United States in March," writes The Local's Oliver Gee. "He pleaded guilty in August to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of accessing a protected computer in furtherance of fraud."

"Sallnert played an instrumental role in carrying out a massive cybercrime ring that victimized approximately 960,000 innocent victims," Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer said in a statement. "By facilitating payment processing, Sallnert allowed the cybercrime ring to collect millions of dollars from victims who were duped into believing their computers were compromised and could be fixed by the bogus software created by Sallnert’s co-conspirators."