NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — More than a half-million computers in over 100 countries were infected by sophisticated malware that lets cybercriminals take over a computer and hijack its webcam, authorities said as charges were announced Monday against more than 100 people worldwide.
The FBI described its investigation in criminal complaints unsealed in Manhattan federal court against five individuals. Meanwhile, police worldwide said they had recently arrested 97 people in 16 countries suspected of using or distributing the malicious software called BlackShades.
“Blackshades’ flagship product was a sophisticated program known as the Remote Access Tool, or ‘RAT’ for short. The RAT is inexpensive and simple to use, but its capabilities are sophisticated and its invasiveness breathtaking,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement. “We now live in a world where, for just $40, a cybercriminal halfway across the globe can – with just a click of a mouse – unleash a RAT that can spread a computer plague not only on someone’s property, but also on their privacy and most personal spaces.”