Alleged Latvian cybercriminal extradited to US in costly ‘scareware’ investigation

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Peteris Sahurovs has been extradited from Poland for his alleged involvement in a scheme that spread malware through fraudulent online advertising for an American hotel chain on the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s website. (Photo Credit: FBI)

A Latvian man has been extradited from Poland following his believed involvement in a “scareware” hacking scheme that spread malware through online advertising purchased on the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s website.

Peteris Sahurovs aka “Piotrek” aka “Sagade,” was indicted on charges of wire fraud, computer fraud and conspiracy in 2011 in the District of Minnesota based on allegations that he played a part in the distribution of computer code that aggressively inundates an affected computer user with threat warnings and can potentially make their computer inaccessible until they agree to supply a credit card number for fraudulent “antivirus” products. This scheme caused over $2 million in losses to visitors of startribune.com.

Sahurovs was arrested in Latvia in June 2011, released by a Latvia court and then found to have fled, making him one of the FBI’s most wanted cybercriminals at one point. He was apprehended again in Poland in 2016 and after extradition proceedings made his initial appearance in Minneapolis on June 12, 2017.

The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Minneapolis Field Office, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy C. Rank of the District of Minnesota and Trial Attorney Aaron R. Cooper of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section are prosecuting the case.