The Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) along with the UK National Crime Agency (NCA) disclosed the details of an international law enforcement operation that targeted the criminal ecosystem around the Luminosity RAT (aka LuminosityLink).
According to the EC3, the joint operation was conducted in September 2017, it involved more than a dozen law enforcement agencies from Europe, the US, and Australia.
The Luminosity RAT was first spotted in 2015 but it became very popular in 2016.
The malware was offered for sale in the criminal underground for as little as $40, it allows attackers to take complete control over the infected system.
In September 2016, the UK law enforcement arrested a man that was linked to the threat. The arrest triggered a new investigation that resulted in several arrests, search warrants, and cease and desist notifications across Europe, America, and Australia.
Law enforcement agencies target both sellers and users of Luminosity Trojan. According to the NCA, a small crime ring in the UK distributed Luminosity RAT to more than 8,600 buyers across 78 countries.
“The Luminosity Link RAT (a Remote Access Trojan) enabled hackers to connect to a victim’s machine undetected. They could then disable anti-virus and anti-malware software, carry out commands such as monitoring and recording keystrokes, steal data and passwords, and watch victims via their webcams.” states the press release published by NCA.
“The RAT cost as little as £30 and users needed little technical knowledge to deploy it.
A small network of UK individuals supported the distribution and use of the RAT across 78 countries and sold it to more than 8,600 buyers via a website dedicated to hacking and the use of criminal malware.”
Law enforcement believes that thousands of individuals were infected with the RAT.
“Victims are believed to be in the thousands, with investigators having already identified evidence of stolen personal details, passwords, private photographs, video footage and data. Forensic analysis on the large number of computers and internet accounts seized continues.” reads the announcement published by the Europol.
“Through such strong, coordinated actions across national boundaries, criminals across the world are finding out that committing crimes remotely offers no protection from arrests. Nobody wants their personal details or photographs of loved ones to be stolen by criminals. We continue to urge everybody to ensure their operating systems and security software are up to date”. said Steven Wilson, Head of Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre.
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(Security Affairs – Luminosity RAT, cybercrime)