The source – euronews.com
Alexander Zhukov, 41, is a former traffic salesman known in the webmaster and arbitration world as Nastra. He received 10 years in prison with forfeiture of more than $3.8 million.
According to the prosecution, Zhukov and 7 other accomplices created the illusion of real people viewing online ads from 2014 to 2016. But in reality, ad views grew at the expense of bots. The programmer pleaded not guilty.
The scammers programmed bots to upload real ads to empty web pages that mimicked real websites of more than 6,000 companies, including:
- The New York Times;
- The New York Post;
- The New York Daily News;
- Staten Island Advance.
Zhukov made nearly $5 million, keeping 75% of the proceeds of the scheme for himself. In addition, seven other defendants in the case have been charged with cyberfraud in the case.
A post-verdict announcement on the Justice Department's website listed the theft of more than seven million dollars.
This is a signal to cybercriminals that there will be no more impunity.