Russian authorities bust up gas stealing malware scam
Russian authorities bust up gas stealing malware scam

Russian authorities Sunday arrested Denis Zayev in Stavropol, Russia, on charges stemming from a widespread scam that swindled gas station customers into paying for more gas than they actually pumped into their tank.

Zayev allegedly designed malware used in a scam that netted hundreds of millions of rubles by skimming between 3-to-7 percent of every gallon sold into a separate tank as it was being pumped, according to Russian media outlet Rosbalt.

The stolen gasoline was automatically sent to a separate onsite tank that had intentionally been left empty while the malware erased any information related to the rerouting of fuel. When the tank was full the employees would sell the gas off the books while the malware continued to erase any information pertaining to the boosted fuel.

The scam was one of the largest of its kind and reportedly involved dozens of gas station employees who would split the spoils. Authorities said the malware was nearly impossible to detect by the companies that monitor the gasoline remotely and that the pumps displayed false data along with the cash registers and backend systems.