Law enforcement officials arrested 100 hackers from 16 countries on accusations of creating, selling and using the Blackshades (RAT) ransomware to gain control over peopleâ€™s computers for extortion and to carry out distributed denial-of-service cyber-attacks, according to an FBI news release.
Blackshades or RAT (Remote Access Tool), allows people to spy on a victimâ€™s computer, to enable webcams, and steal passwords and personal information. RAT also includes â€œspreader toolsâ€ meant to send malicious links to the victimâ€™s contacts through social networking services, to install RAT on more devices.
Police arrested Alex YÃ¼cel, the accused owner and co-creator of Blackshades, as well as others allegedly involved in advertising the software on hacking forums. In addition to identity theft charges,Â YÃ¼cel is facingÂ access device fraud charges, which carry a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.
Starting in 2010, BlackShades has been sold in more than 100 countries and infected more than half a million computers, according to the FBI. Copies of the software were easily accessible for around $40 and required no technical expertise.
â€œBlackshadesâ€™ flagship product was a sophisticated program known as the remote access tool, or RAT for short. The RAT is inexpensive and simple to use, but its capabilities are sophisticated and its invasiveness breathtaking,” said Preet Bharara, Manhattan U.S. Attorney.
The arrests are part of a massive globalÂ BlackShades takedown operation involvingÂ the participation of 19 countries,Â including the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany, UK, Finland, Austria, Estonia, Denmark, US, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Italy, Moldova, and Switzerland.