Over 100 International Creepware Hackers Brought Down
- By Ginger Hill
- May 19, 2014
Just when you thought being a creep was free, now it will cost you a mere $40 to purchase malware called Blackshades that can hijack computers remotely, turn on computer webcams, access hard drives and capture keystrokes to steal passwords, all on the incognito! More than half a million people have fallen prey to its silent snooping…until now.
As computer hacker forums were plagued with news of a possible international crackdown, law enforcement officials from around the world knocked on doors. Cybercriminals were trying to warn other hackers of this major crackdown, but to no avail. The FBI and police in 17 countries brought more than 100 hackers down, seizing computers, making arrests and putting an end to a two-year operation that was so coordinated these hackers didn’t have time to destroy evidence. (This arrest even included Blackshades’ co-creator, a Swedish hacker who was arrested in Moldova.)
This so-called “creepware” has become one of the world’s most popular RATs (remote administration tools) and has grown so quickly because it is off-the-shelf, easy-to-use software that is very sophisticated, yet easy to install and very difficult to detect.
Most computer users don’t update their anti-virus software, even though cybercriminals prey on weak links to allow them access and mistakes by computer users to infect their machines with viruses. Absent-minded computer users clink on links in messages on social media sites or within emails, without even knowing what they’re clicking. Then, in a matter of seconds, malware is downloaded onto their computer.
And, what’s the most common way cybercriminals have been using Blackshades? By sending legitimate-looking emails that entice the receiver to click on the link inside the email. Simple, yet apparently, very effective.
Officials hope that this initial arrest will put a dent into stopping this global threat, but I suspect in the hacker’s forums, there’s already talk of a new and improved version.
Ginger Hill is Group Social Media Manager.