FBI Arrests Alleged Adware Hacker

Gretchen Gallen
WASHINGTON – The FBI has arrested an adware affiliate for infecting more than 400,000 computers with a virus program and then installing adware popups from 180Solutions and adult company Gammacash without their knowledge.

Jeanson Ancheta, a Los Angeles resident, is facing a 17-count federal indictment that includes two counts of conspiracy and other forms of computer intrusion and money laundering.

Ancheta also is accused of using some of those infected PCs as zombie bots to send spam or launch denial of service attacks on companies and other users. He allegedly used a customized form of the "rxbot" Trojan horse program to find and take control of vulnerable PCs and then rented out his botnets for additional profit.

Ancheta is accused of profiting more than $60,000 from his scam.

180Solution and Gammacash claim that Ancheta violated the terms of their service agreement, which binds them to inform users that adware is being installed on their machines. Ancheta was allegedly posting popups generated from 180Solutions subsidiary LOUDcash, which the company recently purchased.

The two companies typically get their popup delivery code onto users' machines through affiliates, who are then paid for every installation.

The FBI has so far seized cash, a used BMW and related computer equipment from Ancheta's home, according to reports.

The FBI is saying this is the first prosecution of its kind.

A few months ago, 180Solutions took legal action against seven people in six countries who the company claimed used viruses to spread its ad software to thousands of computers without their owners' consent.

In the suit, 180Solutions accused its affiliates of installing adware without permission on thousands of Microsoft Windows PCs that they had infected with computer viruses. The company is seeking unspecified damages and a halt to the distribution of its software.