Ukrainian Faces Hacking Charges for Worldwide Malverting Scheme

A Ukrainian man charged with participating in a global scheme to infect computers with so-called malvertising last week got his day in court.

The Justice Department said May 3 Oleksii Petrovich Ivanov conspired to expose millions of internet users to ads designed to hack and infect computers with malware. Petrovich was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, four counts of wire fraud, and one count of computer fraud. 

Ivanov and co-conspirators allegedly used fictitious online personas and companies to pose as legitimate advertisers wanting to buy online ads. They told the advertising companies they were distributing ads for real products and services. In reality, the ads were used to disseminate malware to the computers of users who viewed or clicked them, DOJ said.

When one advertising company told Ivanov his ads were flagged as malware threats, he allegedly denied any wrongdoing and pushed the company to continue running the ads for months.

“This defendant engaged in an extraordinary and far-reaching scheme to infect and hack computers throughout the United States and the world,” U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said in a May 3 statement. “This ‘malvertising’ scheme is especially dangerous because it uses online ads to target millions of unsuspecting Internet users engaged in activities as routine as booking their next vacation.”

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