Alleged hackers of Star Tribune website arrested in Latviaby Rupa Shenoy, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — The U.S. Department of Justice says it has disrupted an international crime ring that allegedly ran a scam involving the Minneapolis Star Tribune's website.
Peteris Sahurovs, 22, and Marina Maslobojeva, 23, were arrested in Rezekne, Latvia.
In a Wednesday release, the Justice Department says two people in Latvia posed as promoters of a hotel chain that wanted to post an advertisement on startribune.com.
The Star Tribune checked out the ad and it looked legitimate.
But the Justice Department says the Latvian pair later changed the advertisement's coding to infect the computers of visitors to Startribune.com with harmful software.
The software caused users' computers to freeze up and then generate pop-up warnings.
The pop-ups asked users to buy $50 antivirus software. People who didn't pay lost access to data and files on their computer.
The Justice Department says the scam caused $2 million in losses to an unknown number of users.
The defendants were arrested in Latvia and charged with four counts of wire and computer fraud.