U.S. Attorney: Cyber spying software bust nets scores of suspects
Monday, May 19, 2014 - 01:36
May 19 - U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, announces global crackdown on creators and purveyors of malicious computer software called Blackshades. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION)
Just hours after announcing an indictment against Chinese nationals over alleged cyber espionage, U.S. officials said they had carried out a second case involving cyber spying.
At a news conference in New York, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, said law enforcement agencies "exposed and crippled a frightening form of cyber crime, affecting hundreds of thousands of computer users around the world."
Bharara said the operation's target was an organization known as Blackshades, which created and sold a program known as the remote access tool, or RAT for short.
"For just $40, the Blackshades RAT enabled anyone around the world to instantly become a dangerous cyber criminal, able to steal your property and invade your privacy," Bharara said.
Bharara said the software allowed users to intrude on victims' privacy, log keystrokes on victim's computers, seize files on compromised computers, and hold the files for ransom.
"After installing the RAT on a victim's computer, a user of the RAT had free rein to, among other things, access and view documents, photographs and other files on the victim's computer, record all of the keystrokes entered on the victim's keyboard, steal the passwords to the victim's online accounts, and even activate the victim's web camera to spy on the victim - all of which could be done without the victim's knowledge," a news release said.
The operation led to more than 90 arrests with law enforcement agencies working across 19 countries, Bharara said.
The announcement comes hours after Attorney General Eric Holder announced a grand jury indictment against five Chinese military officers on charges of hacking American companies and stealing trade secrets, the toughest action taken by Washington so far to address cyber spying by China.
China denied the charges, saying they were "made up" and would damage trust between the two nations. The Chinese foreign ministry said it would suspend the activities of the Sino-U.S. Internet working group.
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