Global hacker crackdown hits Aussies



blog Picked up a copy of the ‘Blackshades’ remote administration tool recently? You may be on the FBI’s target list. The Wall Street Journal reports in the US over the weekend that US authorities have worked with law enforcement authorities in a range of countries to raid the homes of those who have been using the software. The newspaper tells us (we recommend you click here for the full article):

“The searches are part of a coordinated crackdown on an international ring of suspected criminal hackers, according to the people familiar with the probe. Federal prosecutors in New York plan to announce the results of the raids as soon as Monday, said those familiar with the situation.”

AAP reports this morning (through Computerworld) that US authorities have also been working with Australian law enforcement authorities on the issue, with at least one Australian being affected by the raids. The site reports:

“An Australian wrote on a hacker forum how he “just got swatted” in a raid on his house by the Australian Federal Police and three laptops and a desktop computer were seized.”

I’m in two minds about these raids. It certainly appears that Blackshades, like many remote administration tools, can be used for innocent purposes; for example, I am sure it would be an excellent piece of software if you need to keep your parents’ PC in another city up to date, without having to go to the trouble of visiting their house. On the other hand, it appears that the FBI views the software, and anyone using it, as possibly having further links to to online crime. Perhaps it’s best to stick to more common tools for now.

Image credit: FBI


  1. It’s a promising sign that the AFP and other agencies are targeting users of Blackshades. It should be noted, that this “package” is essentially a bundle of tools that continue to exist online – sold as a pre-packaged suite for those that lack the sophistication to assemble something similar themselves.

    If only for it’s effect as a deterrent/signal, the purchasers of Blackshades are a legitimate (albeit easy) target for law enforcement agencies.

  2. I’m Sorry but I’d like to see a bit more evidence here. Are the arrest for people who were using the tools maliciously? or just people who owned them?

    There are plenty of legitimate uses for such a tool in the field of Computer Security. But if these arrests are merely for purchasing the software then we should definitely be concerned with this.

    There definitely needs to be more information on what is going on here as its not clear at all why these people were arrested or how the evidence was gathered. There is enough information that it should cause concern though while it remains unclear.

  3. That’s between the accused and the courts.

    As it was sold, it was effectively a GUI wrapper around a bundle that consisted of a trojan horse. It was specifically designed to steal passwords, log keystrokes, access/upload files, and even access webcams.

    There are many better options for people who need to (legitimately) access remote machines. Any claims that Blackshades was being used for this purpose are likely to be thin.

  4. So now it’s cool that some foreign government are causing people to be arrested for owning a piece of software that may or may not be used for nefarious purposes, whether they have used it or not? I’m sorry, what? That’s like arresting everybody with a penis, because it could be used to commit a crime. We’re all OK with that? What happened to us that this is now an OK thing?

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