Any day now the FBI will be announcing that in coordination with foreign law enforcement agencies it has raided illegal users of a software program called Blackshades. Blackshades is the name for a type of software that goes by the interesting acronym RAT which stands for Remote Access Tool. This type of software enables someone to control a computer from a distance. Blackshades can be used legitimately by businesses to permit accessing of a work computer while the employee is at home, but it has also been used many times by hackers who use it as keystroke logging malware by which the hacker steals information from the victim’s computer and makes him or her a victim of identity theft, or take control of the victim’s webcam for blackmail purposes or lock the victim’s computer and then refuse to permit the victim to have access to his or her computer unless a ransom is paid. In this raid, the FBI and other international law enforcement agencies also shut down the website bshades.eu which was a part of the black market on which the program was sold, often for bitcoins to maintain the anonymity of the purchase.
This is a good sign that international law enforcement is cooperating in the war against cybercriminals. However, for all of us, it is important to remember that in order for us to become victims of malware such as Blackshades, the software has to be installed on our computers or other devices and the main way that the is still done is through phishing, so it is still as important as ever not to click on links unless you are absolutely sure they are legitimate.