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Monday, 19 May 2014 07:28

Aussies raided in global Blackshades crackdown Featured


An unspecified number of Australian hackers have been raided by the Australia Federal Police in a global operation against the ‘Blackshades’ remote administration tool (RAT).

Blackshades, which has been widely shared around the hacker community, allows its users to steal passwords and other personal information remotely. It also allows spying through webcams. The software could be acquired online for $50 to $100. It is no relation to the Black Shades PC game.

The US FBI has led the global enforcement action which led to the raids. It says it will make a public announcement later today (tomorrow, Australian time).

The FB! Has been on the trail of Blackshades for years. It arrested its original developer, 21 year old American Michael Hogue (‘xVisceral’), in 2013 after a two year investigation. But the software has developed a life of its own and has since been extended by other hackers.

Security site MalwareBytes has a good description of the software:

“Blackshades is a Remote Access Trojan which allows an attacker the ability to view a victim’s webcam, log their key strokes, steal their files, further infect a system with subsequent malware, hold the infected system for ransom and a slew of other functionality.

“It has multiple methods of unique concealment, used to hide from antivirus engines by employing the use of custom ‘crypters’ which obfuscates the implant binary. It was most recently seen in the media as one of the tools used against Syrian political activists.”

iTWire will report on the FBI’s announcement of the operation’s details when they are released.


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Graeme Philipson

Graeme Philipson is senior associate editor at iTWire. He is one of Australia’s longest serving and most experienced IT journalists. He is author of the only definitive history of the Australian IT industry, ‘A Vision Splendid: The History of Australian Computing.’

He has been in the high tech industry for more than 30 years, most of that time as a market researcher, analyst and journalist. He was founding editor of MIS magazine, and is a former editor of Computerworld Australia. He was a research director for Gartner Asia Pacific and research manager for the Yankee Group Australia. He was a long time weekly IT columnist in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, and is a recipient of the Kester Award for lifetime achievement in IT journalism.



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