Up to 100 arrested worldwide over ‘peeping Tom’ malware

20 May 2014

Up to 100 people have been arrested in different nations across the world over malware that was freely sold online that would allow the user to hack into a person’s computer and monitor everything the person does on that computer.

The arrests were part of a multi-nation crackdown on websites and their users who bought and sold various malware, including sites such as bshades.eu that sold Blackshades trojan viruses for about US$40 to anyone with the money.

According to ArsTechnica, the US District Court was able to locate two individuals, Alex Yucel and Brendan Johnston, accused of being two of the largest distributors and marketers of the malware, while another two individuals, Kyle Fedorek and Marlen Rappa, were arrested for using the malware to infect 400 computers worldwide.

The trojan software is most commonly used to hack into a webcam to monitor a person at his or her computer, record images and video of his or her activities and, depending on the person’s behaviour, could potentially enable the cyber-criminal to blackmail the person if something was caught on camera that could embarrass the computer user.

Officially referred to as RATs (remote access trojans), this operation would have been one of the largest to have occurred in the last number of months. Some 360 homes were searched for users of RATs, while the estimated number of victims are 500,000-700,000.

Malware image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic