July 3, 2024 at 2:35 pm

A Multibillion Dollar Botnet Scam Has Been Traced Back To A Single Person

by Trisha Leigh

Source: Shutterstock

There’s a saying that the truth is stranger than fiction, and when it comes to this botnet scam, that’s definitely the truth.

I’m not sure any audience would have bought this story, to be honest, if they saw it on the big or small screen.

The Department of Justice just announced the arrest of Yunhe Wan in connection with the biggest botnet scheme in history.

The arrest of the 35-year-old Chinese national is a huge win for US law enforcement.

A DOJ press release alleges that Wan and his co-conspirators advertised fake VPN serves to distribute malware that infected “millions” of computers in 200 countries around the world.

They created basically a secret communication highway that hides users behind real people’s IP addresses.

Wan sold access to this network – known as “911 S5” – to cybercriminals who used it to “commit a whole host of computer-enabled crimes, including financial frauds, identity theft, and child exploitation.”

And he was really, really successful.

Wan made an estimated $99 million since the network launched in 2014 says Department of Commerce official Matthew Axelrod.

“The conduct alleged here reads like it’s ripped from a screenplay. A scheme to sell access to millions of malware-infected computers worldwide, enabling criminals over the world to steal billions of dollars, transmit bomb threats, and exchange child exploitation materials – then using the scheme’s nearly $100 million in profits to buy luxury cars, watches, and real estate.”

Wan has been charged with “conspiracy to commit computer fraud, substantive computer fraud. conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.”

One of the more outlandish crimes involved allowing foreign actors to pose as unemployed US citizens during the coronavirus pandemic. They ended up draining $6 billion in COVID aid funding from the government in the US.

He could face up to 65 years in prison, which will be a huge change from the lavish lifestyle he has been living in the decade the scam has been running full-tilt.

Whether or not there will be any restitution for people who have been wronged remains to be seen.

But one can hope.

What a cheeky criminal!

If you enjoyed that story, check out what happened when a guy gave ChatGPT $100 to make as money as possible, and it turned out exactly how you would expect.