Bei­jing au­thor­i­ties ar­rest 9 in internet mal­ware scheme

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By ZHANG YI zhang_yi@chi­

Bei­jing po­lice have ar­rested nine sus­pects in a cross-bor­der internet browser hi­jack­ing case.

Mal­ware called “Fire­ball” was de­vel­oped by a com­pany lo­cated in Bei­jing’s Haid­ian dis­trict to hi­jack browsers and profit from com­mis­sions on internet ad­ver­tis­ing by redi­rect­ing traf­fic, ac­cord­ing to the Haid­ian sub­bu­reau of the mu­nic­i­pal Public Se­cu­rity Bureau on Mon­day.

The com­pany gained 80 mil­lion yuan ($12 mil­lion) last year from the mal­ware, which was bun­dled with le­git­i­mate soft­ware pro­vided to users, the sub-bureau said.

The sus­pects are charged with the crime of sab­o­tag­ing a com­puter sys­tem, it said.

The mal­ware mainly tar­geted over­seas users.

Zhao Leiluo, deputy head of the sub-bureau, said the com­pany was set up in 2015 and reg­is­tered in Haid­ian dis­trict. The mal­ware tar­geted the over­seas users in an at­tempt to avoid su­per­vi­sion in China, he said.

The crime should be pun­ished re­gard­less of bor­ders, Zhao said, adding that the en­force­ment ac­tion demon­strates the de­ter­mi­na­tion of po­lice to cur­tail the prac­tice.

Wang Jingjun, deputy head of the internet se­cu­rity divi­sion of the sub-bureau, said the sus­pects con­fessed to the

com­put­ers world­wide have been in­fected by Fire­ball mal­ware, se­cu­rity com­pany says. was made last year by bundling Fire­ball mal­ware with le­git­i­mate soft­ware.

crime. The mal­ware they de­vel­oped was first de­tected by an over­seas com­puter lab.

Bei­jing Huorong Net­work Tech­nol­ogy Co re­ported the mal­ware to the po­lice and as­sisted them in ob­tain­ing key ev­i­dence af­ter it was dis­cov­ered by se­cu­rity com­pany Check Point Soft­ware Tech­nolo­gies based in San Car­los, Cal­i­for­nia, near Sil­i­con Val­ley.

Ac­cord­ing to Check Point, more than 250 mil­lion com­put­ers world­wide have been in­fected by Fire­ball.

More than 140 sus­pects in­volved in internet hi­jack­ing have been busted since March. Around 130 cases of crim­i­nal cy­ber­at­tacks were stopped in the same pe­riod, the au­thor­i­ties said.

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