AMSTERDAM May 19 Police in 16 countries across
the United States, western Europe and in Chile have seized cash,
firearms and drugs and arrested 80 people suspected of peddling
virus software believed to have infected hundreds of thousands
of computers, according to European legal authorities.
Two days of raids targeted creators, users and sellers of
the "BlackShades" malware, which the U.S. Federal Bureau of
Investigation (FBI) says has been sold to thousands of users in
more than 100 countries, infecting more than 500,000 computers.
The software allowed users to control other people's computers.
The raids involved searches of 359 homes in 16 countries,
said Eurojust, the EU's judicial cooperation agency.
Five defendants charged in the United States include Alex
Yucel, who owned and operated the BlackShades organization under
the online name "marjinz," according to court documents unsealed
in New York on Monday.
Yucel ran the organization as a business, employing a
director of marketing, a website developer, a customer service
manager and a team of customer service representatives who
answered complaints submitted online, U.S. authorities said.
BlackShades generated more than $350,000 in sales between
September 2010 and April 2014, according to the court documents.
In a recent case in the Netherlands, an 18-year-old man was
detained for infecting at least 2,000 computers with the
malware, using the victim's web cams to take pictures of women
A statement said the operation was coordinated by Eurojust
and the cyber crime unit of the European police organisation,
In addition to computer hardware, including 1,100 data
storage drives, police also seized substantial quantities of
cash, illegal firearms and drugs, Eurojust, which is based in
The Hague, said.
The malware was sold to thousands of individuals worldwide.
The most widely used version was BlackShades RAT, a
sophisticated piece of malware that enabled users to take over
other people's computers, Eurojust said.
The FBI's investigation was aided by one of the co-creators
of BlackShades RAT, who agreed to cooperate with authorities
after he sold a copy of the malware to an undercover FBI agent.
The investigation has included the seizure of more than 1,900
Internet domain names used to control victims' computers and a
search warrant executed on a BlackShades computer server.
(Reporting By Anthony Deutsch in Amsterdam and Joseph Ax in New