More than 100 people around the world have been arrested in a coordinated sweep of RATers (people who deploy "remote access trojans" that let them spy on people through their computers cameras and mics, as well as capturing their keystrokes and files). The accused are said to have used the Blackshades trojan, which sold for $40 from bshades.eu, mostly for sexual exploitation of victims (though some were also accused of committing financial fraud).
A US District Court in Manhattan handed down indictments for Alex Yücel and Brendan Johnston, who are said to have operated bshades.eu. Yücel, a Swedish national, was arrested in Moldova and is awaiting extradition to the USA. Johnstone is alleged to have been employed by Yücel to market and support Blackshades.
Yücel, a 24-year-old Swedish national, was the co-creator of Blackshades and the operator of a business that sold it, prosecutors said. He was arrested in Moldova in November and is pending extradition to the US. He allegedly employed several paid employees, including a director of marketing, website developer, customer service manager, and a team of customer service representatives. The malware generated sales of more than $350,000 from September 2010 to April of this year. Michael Hogue, co-creator of the RAT, was arrested in June 2012 and pled guilty in January in US District Court. A transcript of his guilty plea was unsealed Monday morning.
Johnston, 23, of Thousand Oaks, California, was a paid employee who, among other things, marketed and sold the RAT and provided technical support to customers, prosecutors said. Fedorek purchased Blackshades and used it to steal financial information and other data for more than 400 victims, prosecutors said. Rappa was also a Blackshades customer who used it to operate victims' webcams and steal their personal data, court documents allege. None of the defendants have entered a plea in court.
More than 100 arrested in global crackdown on peeping tom malware [Dan Goodin/Ars Technica]