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Almost 100 Arrested In Worldwide Swoop On Blackshades Malware

samzenpus posted about 6 months ago | from the shut-it-down dept.

Crime 87

MattSparkes (950531) writes "Law enforcement around the world has teamed-up to arrest 97 for buying/using Blackshades malware, which can remotely seize control of a victim's computer, access documents, record keystrokes and even activate their webcam to take surreptitious pictures and video. It is also able to encrypt files in order to extract a ransom for their release. Blackshades RAT is a commercial product costing less than $200 which was marketed as a tool to test network security. However, it is widely used by hackers and was even said by the Electronic Frontier Foundation to have been used against Syrian activists by the government in 2012."

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it is actually illegal (3, Interesting)

ganjadude (952775) | about 6 months ago | (#47039521)

to buy and sell a piece of software? what one does with it is obviously a different story, but I didnt think there was anything illegal against buying and selling a piece of software. In true /. fashion, I did not RTFA

Re:it is actually illegal (1)

ggraham412 (1492023) | about 6 months ago | (#47039603)

I did read the article and was wondering the same thing.

Re:it is actually illegal (2)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | about 6 months ago | (#47040007)

If you read the article.. then could you point to the exact article that states that selling the software was illegal?

All I'm reading is raids at people who used the software.

Though I wouldn't blame them for going after the authors/sellers, given that it's got a template "we encrypted your files, send payment here for decryption key" letter included. That rather sways things well away from the "it's just a network security testing tool" suggestion.

Re:it is actually illegal (4, Informative)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 6 months ago | (#47040159)

During the course of a worldwide investigation, creators, sellers and users of BlackShades malware were targeted by judicial and law enforcement authorities in 16 different countries.

http://www.eurojust.europa.eu/... [europa.eu]

So they didn't go after people that bought it. They went after the people that wrote it, sold it or used it. If you bought it but didn't use it, they aren't going after you... yet. I suspect that what happened here was the authors put a backdoor into their backdoor software... which the users should have expected... lol. When they got raided, either law enforcement found it or they made a deal with the authors.

Re:it is actually illegal (1)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | about 6 months ago | (#47040377)

Ha, there it is - thanks for the follow-up!

Re:it is actually illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47040647)

A spokesperson for the Belgian federal prosecution clearly stated that the possession of the software was illegal and punishable with 6 months to 3 years in jail by Belgian law.

Re:it is actually illegal (1)

Redmancometh (2676319) | about 6 months ago | (#47040689)

An online friend of mine in Belgium has been arrested in the last week. We do not know exactly why he was arrested, but it appears that this is the reason. We know he purchased this piece of software, and we are fairly certain he did not use it..I think he wanted to pull it apart.

Very frightening stuff indeed.

Re:it is actually illegal (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about 6 months ago | (#47040961)

keep us updated on your friend, Id love to know how everything goes down. Hopefully they arent to hard on him

Re:it is actually illegal (1)

Jack Griffin (3459907) | about 6 months ago | (#47042921)

Yeah, he just wanted to pull it apart to figure out how he could use it to cure cancer and save the children. Protip: play with fire, get burnt.

Re:it is actually illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47043747)

They better round up everyone at kaspersky, mcafee, norton.... etc...

Re:it is actually illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47044859)

cure cancer and save the children

Sounds exactly like the reasons for which people buy guns.

Xzibit named as mastermind behind scheme (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | about 6 months ago | (#47040903)

I suspect that what happened here was the authors put a backdoor into their backdoor software...

Yo dawg, I herd you like backdoors, so we put a backdoor in your backdoor so you can.... er, sod it, you can probably guess the rest yourselves. :-/

Re:it is actually illegal (2)

chuckugly (2030942) | about 6 months ago | (#47040877)

I did read the article and was wondering the same thing.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) also said in a statement that it is aware of more people in the UK who bought the software but are yet to use it. It is working to warn them that "they are now known to the agency" and that "any movement into criminality will result in further action".

Re:it is actually illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47039675)

Never heard of licensing?

Re:it is actually illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47039691)

If the primary purpose/marketing of the software is for an illegal activity, then yes.

Re:it is actually illegal (5, Insightful)

ganjadude (952775) | about 6 months ago | (#47039801)

ahh so its like bongs, if its being sold as a water pipe (network testing tool) its ok, if its being sold as a bong( hacking tool) its not

Re:it is actually illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47039915)

Well, that's pretty much how it goes.

Re:it is actually illegal (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47041455)

It's more like like guns. OK for defense (IE Pen testing) not ok for random drive-bys (Hacking)...

Re:it is actually illegal (0)

gnasher719 (869701) | about 6 months ago | (#47039709)

to buy and sell a piece of software? what one does with it is obviously a different story, but I didnt think there was anything illegal against buying and selling a piece of software.

If it teaches a lesson to fucking imbeciles who think it is fun hacking into innocent people's computers, I'm all for them getting locked up. The lesson is that computers are "real world". That unknown people owning these computers are not "slaves" as they like to call them, but real people.

Re:it is actually illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47039901)

So if you bought the software in order to figure out how to block it you should be arrested and thrown in jail? That's bullshit!

Re:it is actually illegal (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47039733)

Why would software be different from hardware? Take cell phone jammers. Illegal. What if you made an app for iOS that, when activated, jammed all the cell signals within a 500' radius? Is that app illegal? Is the app legal, but the phones illegal once the app is installed? Maybe the phones are illegal only when the app is running, but not when it isn't? Maybe only when the app is in RAM but not sitting on flash? If I take my SD card out, is the phone legal now?

Re:it is actually illegal (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | about 6 months ago | (#47039913)

What if you made an app for iOS that, when activated, jammed all the cell signals within a 500' radius?[...] If I take my SD card out, is the phone legal now?

Nope, if you have an SD card to take out, you're using a KIRF iPhone and it was illegal as soon as it was imported to the US, and always will be. For a slightly different reason though.

Re:it is actually illegal (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 6 months ago | (#47039949)

Cell phone jammers are illegal to DEPLOY, not illegal to own.

Re:it is actually illegal (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47040353)

They're illegal to market, sell or use:
http://transition.fcc.gov/eb/jammerenforcement/jamfaq.pdf
But you're right, if you own one as long as you don't use it it seems ok to possess.

Re:it is actually illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47044201)

Depends on the country, in many European countries you may have it (and even sell or buy it) as long as it is not functional. Not functional can mean that the antenna is not screwed on and sold in a separate package (this was tested in court even)

Re:it is actually illegal (1)

chuckugly (2030942) | about 6 months ago | (#47040891)

Cell phone jammers are legal, jamming cell phones is illegal. There is a difference.

Re:it is actually illegal (-1, Troll)

InsultsByThePound (3603437) | about 6 months ago | (#47039755)

This explains the NSA right now:
"We also like bombing brown people! Not because they're terrorists...just because they're brown! Seriously! When did we last bomb white people, when was the last time ANY white people were bombed? Huh? The Germans! And that was simply because they were trying to cut into our action! Dominate the world, BULLSHIT, that's OUR FUCKING JOB! We can't make a decent fucking car, but we can bomb the shit out of your country all right!"

Re: it is actually illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47039787)

Calm down faggot, take deep breaths.

Re:it is actually illegal (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | about 6 months ago | (#47041131)

Kosovo?

Re:it is actually illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47039817)

No one cares what your opinion is if you're too lazy to read the article.

Re:it is actually illegal (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about 6 months ago | (#47041157)

cared enough to make a post....

Too bad you didn't RTFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47040109)

TFA apparently has a upskirt panty picture of 19-year-old Miss Teen USA Cassidy Wolf.

Re:it is actually illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47040203)

Actually, the article says that, at least in the UK, the police only notified purchasers of Blackshades who have yet to use it that they were "known" to law enforcement and that their online activity could/would be monitored. So at least in some jurisdictions not everyone who bought Blackshades were arrested.

Re:it is actually illegal (1)

fightermagethief (3645291) | about 6 months ago | (#47042051)

What happened with the whole 'possession of hacking tools' being a crime? I could only find the proposed stuff in the EU, but I swear I had heard of people charge with this before. I know, I know...citation needed.
You can be arrested for 'possession of burglary tools', but this seems convoluted in the same way. You can buy an electric lock-pick off the shelf at Northern-Tool-and-Equipment without any kind of license or even showing ID. You can be arrested for having it on your person right outside the door.
This is in the USA, so it is probably just up to the discretion of someone who understands neither trade.

and yet... (0)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 6 months ago | (#47039535)

And yet the biggest criminals responsible for the vast majority of the world's malware are sitting at Perion Network, in a lovely building in Redmond, Washington. They must have bribed the entire fucking government to do what they do without the SWAT time shutting them down. If it was up to me, I'd arrest everyone and then a drone would destroy their building.

NSA (3, Funny)

eedwardsjr (1327857) | about 6 months ago | (#47039543)

"For internal use only"

Re:NSA (1)

ThaumaTechnician (2701261) | about 6 months ago | (#47039585)

"Shakes fist"... Dang, beat me to it!

Re:NSA (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47039779)

When are they going to arrest the NSA, GCHQ, or the other nation-state adversaries doing this exact same thing?

Do we need to catch them and report them to the police first?

People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

Also, don't build glass houses. Or throw stones.

Today's Best Slashvertisement? (3, Insightful)

mythosaz (572040) | about 6 months ago | (#47039557)

How many of you thought, "Hey, only $200...hmmmm?"

Be honest.

I wonder what this particular Slashvertisement cost to buy?

Re:Today's Best Slashvertisement? (-1, Troll)

Arker (91948) | about 6 months ago | (#47039601)

Only $200 to go to prison? Not a great deal.

What I was actually wondering is how this thing injects and what you need to find to remove it. Anyone know?

Re:Today's Best Slashvertisement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47039653)

It uses a shitty non-standard font to disrupt the user's browser. -1 mods seem to disable the problem, though.

Re:Today's Best Slashvertisement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47041069)

Arker's a faggot who will blame your browser settings for rendering his tt tags in monospaced font. Likewise, if you see random monospaced words in this post, it's because I responded to faggot Arker's thread.

While he's right that browser settings can prevent this, he doesn't acknowledge that he goes out of his way to wrap all of his posts in tt tags so that he can feel special. Which is why Arker is a stupid little faggot. Only slightly removed from APK's use of formatting. At least APK's posts make me laugh or at least smile on a bad day.

Re:Today's Best Slashvertisement? (1)

tiberus (258517) | about 6 months ago | (#47039657)

Chances are you'd get a faster response from Google [google.com] .

Re:Today's Best Slashvertisement? (1)

war4peace (1628283) | about 6 months ago | (#47039669)

Your tinfoil hat's width would stop an ICBM.

Re:Today's Best Slashvertisement? (3, Informative)

InsultsByThePound (3603437) | about 6 months ago | (#47039761)

I thought, "I bet I can google this and get it for free." I was right.

Re:Today's Best Slashvertisement? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47039905)

Hard enough to trust malware that you paid for, how trustworthy do you think a "free" copy that you managed to find will be?

Re:Today's Best Slashvertisement? (1)

mspohr (589790) | about 6 months ago | (#47040107)

How do you "trust" any malware?

Re:Today's Best Slashvertisement? (1)

canadiannomad (1745008) | about 6 months ago | (#47040543)

You trust it on a virtual machine, on a honey pot host, in a virtual network, that is disconnected from any other system...

Re:Today's Best Slashvertisement? (2)

JazzLad (935151) | about 6 months ago | (#47041387)

Or any computer at the local Best Buy ...

Re:Today's Best Slashvertisement? (1)

chuckugly (2030942) | about 6 months ago | (#47040907)

I looked for it. If I could trust it (hahahahahaha) it would be really useful for remotely fixing computers for all the people who expect me to fix their computers. But as I was digging around I decided anything that hard to buy isn't going to be trustworthy. I'll stick to log me in.

its a commercial trojan (0, Flamebait)

nimbius (983462) | about 6 months ago | (#47039639)

which is very different than Microsoft's forensic tool COFEE which is also used by a government that runs a prison torture camp in Cuba for freedom. in a totally patrio-tastic way this tool is used to investigate unamericans like Moxie Marlinspike which is also super extremely legal.

murderers catching pickpockets what a relief (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47039655)

one trick phonys uncreational but rational fear of being eaten crown royal mutant history of murderous crusadal hysteria nothing new http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=nazi+zion+history but our remedy is http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=world+wakes+up+to+wmd+on+credit+cabals doing http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=manufactured+weather+wmd+damage

Slashdot only allows anonymous users to post 1 times per day (or less, depending on if it's you again,,, censorship does work?

Same old story (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47039673)

The mafia taking down a competitor encroaching on their territory

Windows is not the only OS out there (2)

ruir (2709173) | about 6 months ago | (#47039729)

So please, write Windows computers and not just computers. Thank you.

Re:Windows is not the only OS out there (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47039869)

Go take a shower.

Re:Windows is not the only OS out there (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 6 months ago | (#47039965)

Even counting only OEM commercial products, the Unix variants in my house far outnumber the Windows boxes.

Re:Windows is not the only OS out there (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47040187)

Even counting you and other at-home Linux users, the Windows variants used by home users far outnumbers you and the other neckbeards.

Re:Windows is not the only OS out there (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47040885)

He was probably referring more to iOS or Android devices than Linux boxes. Include those, you'll probably get more "OEM commercial products" with Unix variants than you get Windows boxes in the average household.

Re:Windows is not the only OS out there (4, Funny)

cdrudge (68377) | about 6 months ago | (#47039961)

Anyone who you would want to stalk, read their dirty emails, and see naked via a spycam is using Windows. Or possibly a Mac. I REALLY don't think you want to see the average Linux user naked and/or blackmail them for dirty pictures.

Re:Windows is not the only OS out there (1)

haploc (57693) | about 6 months ago | (#47044821)

I REALLY don't think you want to see the average Linux user naked and/or blackmail them for dirty pictures.

One of the few examples where 'security through obscurity' does work.

Re:Windows is not the only OS out there (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47044891)

I think it is more like a case of "security through obesity" :p

Re:Windows is not the only OS out there (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47039981)

Yeah, yeah, but it is so refreshing to see a third party actually write, buy and sell a RAT. I always thought that the best RAT is Microsoft Internet Explorer, but it seems that there actually are others.

Re:Windows is not the only OS out there (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 6 months ago | (#47040155)

Don't you know that on Slashdot, you can attack Mac OS X, iOS, Linux and Android, but you can't say a word about the holy gaming-OS?

Re:Windows is not the only OS out there (1)

HiThere (15173) | about 6 months ago | (#47041077)

No. Please write "MSWindows computers". Microsoft does not own the trademark on windows in English speaking countries. It is a common word in descriptive use and is therefore not eligible for trademark protection.

Re:Windowss is not the only OS out there (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47041569)

I remember hearing years ago that Paris Hilton had copyright over the phrase "That's hot". Would have thought this phrase had the same protection.

Re:Windowss is not the only OS out there (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47044665)

I remember hearing years ago that Paris Hilton had copyright over the phrase "That's hot". Would have thought this phrase had the same protection.

Trademark. That's a trademark, not a copyright. There is a huge difference.

Windows is the only one worth using (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47043093)

It does the most.

Re:Windows is the only one worth using (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47044015)

1 core for the AV, 1 core for the malware that comes from the vendor, other core for the malware you got while jacking off to gay sites, and other for your game...Yep, it does the most.

Re:Windows is the only one worth using (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47045055)

That's 2/12 possible real or ht cores. Rest go to games you can't play anyplace else, commercial quality software not available on other platforms, as well as drivers for most any computer hardware there is (which always has drivers ready for windows since it is the most used operating system there is under the sun on pc's and servers bar none). How about your OS of choice?

BackOrifice anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47039945)

Back in the days...

Re:BackOrifice anyone? (1)

duke_cheetah2003 (862933) | about 6 months ago | (#47041165)

As a teen, I remember actually getting some bozo on IRC to install BO on his PC for me. Social engineering is so fun. Dem were the days.

Re:BackOrifice anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47041333)

er, I'm totally a hot chick, my pic is an exe, here's the link, just run it! kkthx /hax

Re:BackOrifice anyone? (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | about 6 months ago | (#47042559)

As a teen, I remember actually getting some bozo on IRC to install BO on his PC for me. Social engineering is so fun. Dem were the days.

That's called "dehumanizing the victim". It wasn't a human being, it was a bozo, so it was alright.

Took Long Enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47040099)

Yay, finally hacking is bad.

What? (1)

no-body (127863) | about 6 months ago | (#47040241)

Only 100 - that can't be. NSA is not that understaffed!

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47040939)

The NSA doesn't enforce laws, silly.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47041481)

Yup, they're in the business of breaking or bending them... ; )

Any different? (1)

duke_cheetah2003 (862933) | about 6 months ago | (#47041085)

How is this any different from something like GoToMyPc.COM or Join.Me ????

Should I be worried now that I use join.me to invite friends to see what I'm doing, or use it to help friends having trouble?

A piece of software's intended functions should not be viewed as good or bad, it's simply a tool. You can club some one over the head with a monkey wrench and kill them. Does that mean this tool has no legitimate uses?

"Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou?"

Re:Any different? (1)

Jack Griffin (3459907) | about 6 months ago | (#47042939)

Because Join.Me instalsl itself silently on a remote host, uses your webcam without your permission, encrypts your files without you knowing then sends you a ransom note asking for money. Good comparison Einstein. Please tell, what legitimate legal purpose do you foolishly believe this software could possibly serve?

But is this illegal in the US... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47041139)

If it is, then I find it interesting that there are other people legally allowed to remotely access computers without the user's awareness/permissions. Surely if this is illegal behavior for some people under a governing body, then it must be illegal for others under a governing body.fullstop. Not talking about holding encrypted files for ransom though. If this was wrongly used by the Syrian government in 2012, what stops other software which isn't accessible to the public that does many of the same things from being used by a government secretly, what if that government doesn't have oversight????? :0

Elimination competition (1)

citizenr (871508) | about 6 months ago | (#47041203)

raids sponsored by Vupen :)

A hair dresser needs a license to cut hair (1)

Stan92057 (737634) | about 6 months ago | (#47041391)

A hair dresser needs a license to cut hair But people who write this kinda software need nothing??? doesn't make any since to me. This kinda software has zero business in the public domain stop giving the criminals tools for free. And that is IMO

Victim's computer malware? (1)

lippydude (3635849) | about 6 months ago | (#47042583)

"Law enforcement around the world has teamed-up to arrest 97 for buying/using Blackshades malware, which can remotely seize control of a victim's computer"

What Operating System does this malware run on, or aren't we allowed to mention Microsoft Windows. ref [scribd.com]

What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47042861)

Law enforcement has fully gone mental. hacking is not illegal, it never was & never will be. the correct word is "Cracking".

This is Europe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47044567)

Just because they are "arrested" doesn't mean that they gonna serve any jail time or pay any restitution.

Gotta laugh on the US, they think they can just jail everybody everywhere. If you gonna continue this trend we gonna beat you americans with a stick when you come to our countries as tourists and yeah you could say that not everybody agrees with what the us gov does but most of them do!
The countries justice systems are reflected by their own citizens. In the US they really want to jail you for 10 years for speeding.

FBI really neaded a lot of brain to pull all the records of the sellers paypal account ... and then what they put up the statement that OMG these made 350k in sales. I doubt that they even made 35k. Hackers are mostly poor people and kids, they don't have money.

On the other hand I don't feel sorry for them because there are hundreds of free RATs (Remote Administration Tools) out there in the wild and if you don't like them you can code your own. Why to buy any.

UHG (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47045211)

great job slashdot, you just told all the script kiddies what to download next

monitoring (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47054291)

We are not safe any more, even the government is spying on the citizens. The hackers also want to use BlackShades to hack our computers. With that said, micro keylogger is not a scam at all.

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