Close to 100 people have been arrested by the FBI, working in collaboration with international law enforcement organisations, in one of the largest cybercrime busts to date.
The operation targeted users of the malicious software package known as Blackshades which had been used to remotely hijack 700,000 computers worldwide, giving criminals access to webcams, hard drives and passwords without the user being aware.
Leo Taddeo, chief of the FBI's cybercrime investigations in New York: "The charges unsealed today should put cyber criminals around the world on notice. If you think you can hide behind your computer screen -- think again."
Cyber security expert Dr. Mike Lloyd, CTO of RedSeal Networks, commented: “What's interesting about BlackShades is the insight into the evolution of malware: it's now a real economy, with regular license fees charged for the use of highly destructive software. We are no longer talking about script kiddies in their parents' basements building up hacks – rather, the market is maturing, and the malware is increasingly for sale, with license restrictions.
“Smart CISOs all aim to track how their adversaries behave. The action of the FBI, while commendable, doesn't really change anything – it just puts a few more bad guys in jail, but they will be replaced soon enough, as long as we continue to run on infrastructure that is easy to compromise.
“The only way to stop the "cockroach problem" here is to attack the economic motivation. That breaks down into two parts: how much can the bad guys gain, and how much will it cost them? We can't easily change the first, but the second is far easier. If we can make it harder to break in, then the economics of the game change in the right direction. The good news is we know how to build more secure infrastructure that is harder to break into – we just need to get better at actually implementing the basics. This is a problem for everyone – just waiting for the FBI to lock up all the criminals is no solution.”