The United States Department of Justice has arrested a 35-year-old Chinese man, YunHe Wang, as the alleged creator and operator of a residential proxy service called 911 S5. This botnet infected more than 19 million IP addresses and led to billions of dollars of unemployment and pandemic fraud. Allegedly, 911 S5 has enabled malicious actors to circumvent financial fraud safeguards to steal from financial institutions, federal lending programs and credit card issuers.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri, head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, said, “As alleged in the indictment, Wang created malware that compromised millions of residential computers around the world and then sold access to the infected computers to cybercriminals. These criminals used the hijacked computers to conceal their identities and commit a host of crimes, from fraud to cyberstalking. Cybercriminals should take note. Today’s announcement sends a clear message that the Criminal Division and its law enforcement partners are firm in their resolve to disrupt the most technologically sophisticated criminal tools and hold wrongdoers to account.”

The botnet was utilized by various cybercriminals to carry out a range of violations, such as child exploitation, large-scale fraud, harassment, bomb threats and more. 

Assistant Secretary for Export Enforcement Matthew S. Axelrod of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), said, “The conduct alleged here reads like it’s ripped from a screenplay: A scheme to sell access to millions of malware-infected computers worldwide, enabling criminals over the world to steal billions of dollars, transmit bomb threats, and exchange child exploitation materials — then using the scheme’s nearly $100 million in profits to buy luxury cars, watches, and real estate. What they don’t show in the movies though is the painstaking work it takes by domestic and international law enforcement, working closely with industry partners, to take down such a brazen scheme and make an arrest like this happen.”

Wang has been charged with the following: 

  • Conspiracy to commit computer fraud
  • Substantive computer fraud
  • Conspiracy to commit wire fraud
  • Conspiracy to commit money laundering

Wang may be given a maximum penalty of 65 years in prison if convicted on all accounts.