Sunday, 6 March 2011

Leaked Documents Reveal Malware Scam

In late march 2010, a new piece of malware began to circulate names iqmanager.exe which was capable of scanning Windows for BitTorrent files. If .torrent files were found the user was presented with a screen claiming that they had been caught infringing copyright by groups such as the RIAA and MPAA and could face 5 years in prison or a $250,000 fine.

Of course, users were also provided the option to make the whole thing go away by paying a settlement of around $400. The scam was run by a group calling themselves the ICCP Foundation and thanks to a report from security expert Brian Krebs, we can see what kind of money was involved in this scam.

Last year, thousands of documents were leaked from Chronopay, Russia’s largest processor of online payments and Krebs managed to review them. The documents showed that Chronopay is heavily involved in the operations of 'high-risk' industries, ones with the greatest chance of credit-card chargebacks and the companies that appeared to do swift disappearing acts.

Krebs notes that Chronopay “handsomely profited from the market for scareware, programs that infiltrate victim PCs to display fake security alerts in a bid to frighten users into paying for worthless security software,” so it comes as no surprise that ICCP Foundation, or ICCP Online as they are noted in Chronopay’s documents, are partners of the payment processor.

Hundreds of people fell for the scam. In just two months 451 people used Visa to pay nearly $220,000 and 129 used Mastercard to hand over just under $63,000. With those 580 people paying $283,000, each payment averages to about $483.

The success of this scam demonstrates just how easily money can be extracted from BitTorrent users through the threat of prosecution or unfeasibly large fines, whether it's come from 'official' sources or not.


  1. Damn that's a lot of money wasted. Also thanks for warning us.

  2. Damn thats a lot a money, pretty smart though.

  3. fight crime ... with crime.

  4. That's how a lot of scams seem to by. They are scamming people who are doing something wrong them selfs. Than the victims are afraid to report it thinking they will get in trouble.