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U.S. Charges 7 In Alleged Internet Ad Fraud Case

U.S. authorities have charged seven people living in Estonia and Russia with spreading malicious software to hijack millions of computers worldwide.

A Manhattan federal court said on November 9 that the suspects have created fake companies that contracted with legitimate advertiser websites to drive Internet traffic toward their Internet pages.

Some 4 million computers in 100 countries were infected with malicious software allegedly designed by the defendants that would redirect an Internet user's browser toward the online advertisements.

The indictment said defendants over the past four years were paid about $14 million by advertisers based on the amount of "clicks" the ad pages would receive.

U.S. authorities said six Estonians were arrested on November 8, while the seventh person, a Russian citizen, remains at large.

Some 130 NASA computers were also infected. It was NASA that first discovered the malicious software.

compiled from agency reports