Chinese Man Arrested as Cybercrime Ringleader in US-Led Bust; Luxury Assets Confiscated

By Madz Dizon

May 30, 2024 12:29 AM EDT

Chinese Man Arrested as Cybercrime Ringleader in US-Led Bust; Luxury Assets Confiscated
Handcuffs hold barricades together at a rally outside the Aurora Police Department Headquarters to demand justice for Elijah McClain on June 27, 2020 in Aurora, Colorado.
(Photo : Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images)

A 35-year-old Chinese man was apprehended in Singapore, including millions of dollars in automobiles, watches, and real estate that were seized as part of a massive raid on a global cybercrime network that cheated the US government of billions of dollars, the Justice Department announced on Wednesday.

Chinese Cybercrime Ringleader Arrested for Operating 911 S5 Botnet

A Chinese national, YunHe Wang, was apprehended by law enforcement as the administrator of the botnet. 

As stated by FBI cyber division deputy assistant director Brett Leatherman, Wang is accused of being the mastermind behind a large-scale operation called the 911 S5 Botnet. 

This operation involved the use of 19 million compromised IP addresses across 190 countries for various criminal activities, including bomb threats, financial fraud, identity theft, child exploitation, and various other computer crimes.

IP addresses, a series of numbers and dots, serve as distinct identifiers for the devices and domains on the internet, enabling seamless communication and exchange of information, CBS News reported.

The latest statements from the Departments of Justice and Treasury, individuals engaged in fraudulent activities by utilizing a botnet to submit a large number of counterfeit applications for federal relief during the coronavirus pandemic. 

These actions resulted in significant financial losses of approximately $5.9 billion.

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FBI Seizes $30M in Luxury Assets from Botnet Mastermind

A senior FBI official informed reporters that law enforcement agents have confiscated a significant amount of luxury assets, including watches, sports cars such as a Ferrari and Rolls-Royce, and real estate properties worth approximately $30 million. 

According to CNN, these assets were seized across various regions, including East Asia, the Middle East, the Caribbean, as well as the US. 

In accordance with an indictment revealed in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Wang allegedly used the money he earned from renting the botnet to purchase property in those locations.

Wang's attorney was not listed in the court records. According to Leatherman, the US government is currently seeking his extradition and an investigation into other possible suspects is still underway.

In the words of prosecutors, Wang and other individuals supposedly involved in the criminal network utilized virtual private networking (VPN) to distribute their harmful code, infecting a staggering 19 million IP addresses globally, with over 600,000 of them located in the US. 

IP addresses are the distinct numbers that match to individual devices on the internet.

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