Mastermind of Botnet Ring Arrested, Assets Seized

Mastermind of Botnet Ring Arrested, Assets Seized

Todd Faulk Todd Faulk
Published on: June 6, 2024 Senior Editor

Singaporean authorities have arrested Wang YunHe, the accused administrator of the world’s largest criminal botnet — a network of 19 million infected computers in 200 countries used to carry out cybercrimes.

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced in late May that it, in cooperation with other countries, had taken down the botnet, which included more than 600,000 compromised IP addresses in the US.

Since Wang’s arrest, Thailand’s Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) has seized $2.4 million in cash, luxury goods, and land deeds belonging to Wang and his associates, who had allegedly funneled a total of $27.2 million into the country by buying properties and stakes in companies.

The CIB plans to seek a court order to seize the remainder of the assets in Thailand belonging to Wang and his co-conspirators. These assets include bank accounts, cryptocurrency accounts, cars, land, and condominiums.

Wang is accused of running the botnet as a residential proxy service known as “911 S5.” The service used malware to infect millions of Windows computers, which were then hijacked for nefarious purposes. Wang allegedly rented out the use of the botnet to other cybercriminals, who carried out financial fraud, identity theft, and child exploitation.

Investigators believe that criminals using 911 S5 may have stolen billions of dollars from banks, credit card companies, and federal funding programs since 2014. Schemes included filing fraudulent unemployment claims and applications to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, a US program that helps small businesses recover from natural and other disasters, including the COVID pandemic.

According to the US indictment, Wang and his associates collected about $99 million in fees from leasing their illegal computer network. The indicted are believed to have also purchased property in the United States, China, St. Kitts and Nevis, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates.

If convicted on all four felony charges filed against him, Wang faces up to 65 years in prison.

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