The Federal Bureau of Investigation focused on users of the Blackshades
software in a recent crackdown that covered 17 countries, including the
United States. The software has been used by hackers to commit
Internet crime and gain remote access to webcams and hard drives. The bust — the
culmination of a two-year investigation — was overseen by around
12 FBI cybercrime investigators in the FBI’s special operations
center in New York.
According to reports, more than 100 people were arrested, including the
co-creator of the Blackshades malware, and countless computers were confiscated.
Agents with the FBI were reportedly monitoring chat rooms and discussion
boards frequented by hackers in an effort to keep tabs on the community’s
discussion during the operation, and the agency also took down a site
that sold Blackshades.
According to one of the FBI cybercrime investigators, the international
operation was put into place because of how fast the cybercrime industry
has been growing. One of the more well-known cases of the Blackshades
software being used for Internet crime is the blackmailing case from 2013
involving the then-current Miss Teen USA and a former classmate who installed
the Blackshades malware on her computer. He accessed nude photos. The
former classmate ended up pleading guilty to unauthorized access of a
computer and extortion and was sentenced to 18 months in prison. The man
had reportedly used the software on as many as 150 computers, including
some in Maryland.
Cybercrime is relatively new, but Internet crimes are being increasingly
prosecuted as legislation catches up to the advances in technology. For
those accused of such crimes, having a complete understanding of their
rights and the charges against them is vital to criminal defense strategies.
Source: FOXCT, “Inside FBI’s Massive Cybercrime Bust” Evan Perez and Shimon Prokupecz, May. 19, 2014