UPDATE 1-Scores arrested in global sweep over 'BlackShades' malicious software
(Rewrites throughout with details from court documents, press conference, adds NEW YORK dateline, byline)
By Anthony Deutsch and Joseph Ax
AMSTERDAM/NEW YORK May 19 (Reuters) - Authorities arrested about 100 people as part of a global crackdown on malicious software used to infect half a million computers, U.S. and European authorities said on Monday.
The software, created by an organization called "BlackShades," allows hackers to control other people's computers remotely, recording keystrokes, stealing passwords and gaining access to their personal files.
In some cases, users employed the inexpensive software, known as BlackShades' Remote Access Tool or RAT, to take over the computers' cameras and spy on their owners, U.S. officials said at a press conference in New York. They said in other cases, users sent a ransom note, requiring payment before unlocking their victims' documents.
"For just $40, BlackShades' RAT enabled anyone, anywhere in the world, to become a dangerous cyber criminal," Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara told reporters.
In a series of raids over two days, police searched 359 homes in 16 countries in Europe and the Americas, according to Eurojust, the EU's judicial cooperation agency. In addition to computer hardware, police in Europe seized cash, illegal firearms and drugs, Eurojust said.
A spokeswoman for the FBI said 19 different countries were involved in the investigation.
The crackdown was one of the largest for cyber crime in terms of the number of arrests and countries involved, said Mark Rasch, a former computer crimes prosecutor. Continuación...