Marketplace has a new podcast for kids, "Million Bazillion!" EPISODE OUT NOW

Long arm of the law reaches to Estonia and Russia

John Moe Nov 10, 2011

And so begins the extradition process for the F.B.I.’s Operation Ghost Click. Along with the Estonian police, the F.B.I. announced the arrests of six Estonians and are still looking for one Russian national, who allegedly hijacked over 4 million computers (over 500 thousand in the U.S.), turning them into botnets that sent web surfers to errant sites. Errant sites, what’s the big deal? I’m so glad you asked. Let’s say you’re doing your taxes and need some forms. You search for the IRS online and find a link. But if your computer was infected, when you clicked on that link, you’re redirected to another site. When that site logs a page view, the hackers earn a teensy-weensy bit of money. In this case, all those teensy-weensy bits added up to over $14 million.

Don’t feel bad if you unwittingly participated in the scheme. The virus was actually discovered at NASA, where 130 computers were found to have had the virus, and those people have some of the biggest brain pellets in the universe. Click here to find out whether or not your computer has been infected.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.