US sanctions Chinese individuals over COVID-related fraud, bomb threats

By Thomson Reuters May 28, 2024 | 1:36 PM

(Reuters) – The U.S. Treasury on Tuesday sanctioned three Chinese individuals and three Thai companies for involvement in a cybercrime network that it said made bomb threats and fraudulent applications for COVID-related aid, costing the government billions of dollars.

The individuals and the Thai-based companies were sanctioned for activities related to 911 S5 botnet, a service that compromised computers and resulted in cybercrimes being traced back to victims’ computers instead of the perpetrators’ devices, the Treasury said.

“These individuals leveraged their malicious botnet technology to compromise personal devices, enabling cybercriminals to fraudulently secure economic assistance intended for those in need and to terrorize our citizens with bomb threats,” said the Treasury under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, Brian Nelson.

The IP addresses compromised were linked to a number of bomb threats made across the United States in July 2022, according to the release.

Reuters was not immediately able to seek comment from the sanctioned entities or individuals.

(Reporting by Costas Pitas; Editing by Leslie Adler)