Some posts on different hacking forums talk about a series of raids launched by the FBI and foreign police agencies that took place all around the world. These raids targeted individuals that were involved to a specific type of software, called Blackshades.
Blackshades is a software that allows people to access computers from distance or how experts call it, a “RAT”( Remote Access Tool). The investigators suspected the targeted individuals of distributing the software so during the raids numerous searches and seizures took place. A big part of the confiscated prays will be announced in the near future by the federal prosecutors of New York.
Apparently when it comes to Blackshades an entire distribution network was developed starting with a website which has been taken down, where the product was sold from (called bshades.eu) to an underground market where some write programs for others to buy.
Don’t get this wrong, Blackshades is a legal product, the only difference between legal and illegal is in how it is used. The legitimate use is for example when a work computer is being accessed from home. The less orthodox way allows hackers to access files or documents on a computer, to track which keys you type on the keyboard to learn passwords or even take control over a computers camera.
Also, from time to time, criminals use Blackshades to take over a computer and then demand a ransom to return control, according to the police and computer security experts. Since last year, Symantec Corporation SYMC in Your Value Your Change Short position which is a computer security company, recorded thousands of Blackshades infections.
At the beginning of this year, several Bitcoin exchanges drew federal prosecutors attention. One of their biggest worries is the facility of purchasing hacking tools, easy to use and that require little technical knowledge. Prosecutors believe that the high rate of on-line illegal activity is closely related to these hacking tools and by controlling their spread the Internet crime rate will decrease.
According to Tom Kellerman, Chief Cybersecurity Officer at Trend Micro Inc. (4704.TO in Your Value Your Change Short position cybersecurity company), Blackshades software is just one of many others hacking tools that can be bought from the underground market (more common in Europe). During his statement Mr. Kellerman said that “The elite hackers of 2014 have evolved to become developers of crime kits as there is an economy of scale around the provision of cyberattack capabilities.”
Hack forums are full of posts coming from students (UK, Netherlands etc) who received “visits” from the police during these international raids. A user from Germany posted the following message on one of the forums: “Hey guys, guess what happened today? I got a visit from the German police because I bought Blackshades“.
Even if the website in cause was taken down recently, the FBI took control over it weeks ago as Charles Tendell, a cyber security consultant who monitors hacking forums announced. This operation is more likely to charge people in Eastern Europe and other countries but the extradition orders are still to be debated.