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Blackshades: The script kiddies lament

May 21, 20143 mins

webcams Cory Doctorow

News broke this week that a massive global raid had taken place over two days which comprised of 359 coordinated searches in 16 countries and there were apparently 80+ arrests as a result. Why? Well apparently all of the aforementioned targets had a copy of the Blackshades remote access trojan or RAT. 

From Europol [1]:

“During both action days, 359 house searches were carried out worldwide, and more than 80 people were arrested. Over 1100 data storage devices suspected of being used in illegal activities were seized, including computers, laptops, mobile telephones, routers, external hard drives and USB memory sticks. Substantial quantities of cash, illegal firearms and drugs were also seized.”

What is Blackshades you might ask? Well, this is a fairly effective tool that can be used to compromise targets to gain unauthorized access. This was available for purchase online for a low cost. It would allow the user to operate as if they were sitting at the keyboard in front of the system themselves. This tool could allow someone to listen in using your microphone or watch you through your webcam (use a sticky note to cover it when not in use). Insidious uses no doubt. So, someone could go online and buy this tool, download it, click next, next, next and then apparently you would be considered a ‘hacker’ by mainstream media. 

Um, yeah, about that…no.

At best being labelled a script kiddie would be the moniker that you could have hanging around your neck as the albatross of your stupidity. Why would someone buy a tool like this that could be easily traced back to them? Laziness will get you every time. This is a part in parcel an output of people not doing their homework. Case in point one of the main authors of the Blackshades software was arrested and agreed to cooperate with the FBI in June of 2012. [2] 

For a Canadian spin on this, the RCMP also participated in raids and searched address(es) in Montreal, Quebec in May. 

“Const. Philippe Gravel, an investigator with the RCMP’s Integrated Technological Crime Unit in Quebec, said he expected charges will be laid in Canada as well.

Gravel says police raided homes on May 13 and 14 in Montreal, Quebec City and elsewhere in the province after obtaining search warrants.

“We’ve searched the houses, we’ve seized computers and we’re still analyzing the data,” Gravel said. Gravel said he couldn’t comment on whether there would be further raids in Canada.” [3]

These raids appear to have been triggered by an incident in the Netherlands where someone had comprised hundreds of computers in a effort to catch naked pictures of women.

Unfortunately, the resulting raids this will do little to put a dent in any sort of significant criminal behavior. What this will accomplish is to round up a a large group of people who were just barely smart enough to buy a tool online. It should be noted that there is no guarantee that the parties arrested even used the tool at all. Should make for some entertaining legal work.

If you want to be a hacker, learn your trade. If you want to be a criminal, I have no help for you. 





(Image used under CC from Cory Doctorow)


Dave Lewis has over two decades of industry experience. He has extensive experience in IT security operations and management. Currently, Dave is a Global Security Advocate for Akamai Technologies. He is the founder of the security site Liquidmatrix Security Digest and co-host of the Liquidmatrix podcast.

The opinions expressed in this blog are those of Dave Lewis and do not necessarily represent those of IDG Communications, Inc., its parent, subsidiary or affiliated companies.

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