The United States government recently charged three men for their roles in scareware attacks that netted them roughly $100 million, according to the Register. The group targeted desktop security using advertisements for phony antivirus software that were viruses used to steal information from people's hard drives.

The men set up three phony advertising agencies that placed banner ads on websites, which they designed to look like virus scan processes. The graphics included a prompt that falsely informed users that their machines were infected with malware. As soon as the file completed download, the desktop security attacks began.

Charges include wire fraud and computer fraud, which could result in a $20,000 fine and eight years in prison for every count they are convicted of. Federal prosecutors found that the elaborate ploy scammed computers users in more than 60 counties, according to the Register. All three men are American citizens, although one currently lives in Ukraine.

The U.S. government has cracked down on cyber criminals heavily in 2010. While malware activity continues to set new highs on a monthly basis, the mastermind of the hacking attack on clothing store chain TJX received 20 years in prison for stealing the information of about 40 million credit card accountsADNFCR-2553-ID-19808733-ADNFCR