Estonia man pleads guilty in NYC to cyberfraud charges related to millions of computers

Associated Press

A man portrayed as a ringleader in an international cyber scam has pleaded guilty.

Vladimir Tsastsin (TSAHS'-tsihn), an Estonian citizen, entered the plea Wednesday in Manhattan federal court.

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The plea came in a scheme that authorities said infected more than 4 million computers in over 100 countries with software that disabled anti-virus protections and steered users to websites they did not choose. Sentencing was set for Oct. 14.

Prosecutors say more than a half-million computers were infected in the United States. They included computers belonging to government agencies including NASA. Prosecutors say infected computers also belonged to educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, commercial businesses and individuals.

They said Tsastsin and co-conspirators profited by receiving payments due to higher Internet traffic after they digitally hijacked Internet searches and re-routed computers to certain websites and advertisements.