U.S. DOJ Arrests Chinese Man Behind $130 Million Botnet Scam

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Key Takeaways

  • Wang allegedly created Malwarethat affected over 19 million IP addresses through the 911 S5 botnet between 2014 and 2022
  • Police claim that they seized $30 million in assets linked to 911 S5.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has arrested Yune Wang, 35, a China National who is alleged to be the mastermind behind the world’s largest botnet scam dubbed the 911 S5 scam. A botnet is defined as a network of infected computers that work together to carry out an attacker’s goals.

The 911 S5 service offered residential proxy solutions, commonly utilized by malicious actors who typically paid in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. This service was facilitated by the 911 S5 botnet, which operated by distributing misleading free VPN services. These VPNs claimed to provide users with improved online privacy, but in truth, 911 S5 exploited backdoors in its software to unlawfully commandeer the IP addresses of millions of unsuspecting users globally.

According to the indictment, Wang allegedly created malware that infected over 19 million computers in nearly 200 countries between 2014 and 2022. The compromised computers were then used in cyberattacks, large-scale fraud, child exploitation, harassment, and other crimes.

Investigators believe Wang sold access to the compromised computers through a subscription service, allowing other criminals to leverage the botnet for their own purposes. This is estimated to have resulted in over $5.9 billion in losses from fraudulent unemployment insurance claims alone.

Wang allegedly made millions of dollars from this operation, acquiring luxury cars and properties worldwide. He was arrested in Singapore and authorities seized $29 million in cryptocurrency believed to be linked to the botnet.

Law enforcement officials from the United States, Singapore, Thailand, and Germany collaborated to take down the botnet’s infrastructure. This included seizing over 70 servers and 23 domains believed to be crucial for the botnet’s operation. Additionally, approximately $30 million in assets have been seized.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland stated that criminals who purchased access to the zombie network from Wang were responsible for over $5.9 billion in estimated losses due to fraud against relief programs. As per blockchain analytic firm Chainalysis, addresses linked with Wang held more than $130 million in crypto on-chain.

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Saniya Raahath
Saniya Raahath

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