A New York federal court sentenced Alex Yücel (a.k.a. “marjinz“), a Swedish man, who is the alleged mastermind behind the BlackShades Remote Access Tool (RAT). BlackShades is a popular RAT in the criminal underground that infected more than 500,000 computers worldwide. Yücel was sentenced to almost five years in a U.S. prison on Tuesday.
BlackShades allow to gain complete control over the victim’s machine, it was designed to spy on victims by stealing user credentials and sensitive data, capturing keystrokes and instant messaging messages, and much more.
The 25 years-old Alex Yücel managed the “BlackShades” criminal ring that offered the notorious RAT to several thousands of criminals and customers in more than 100 countries. Yucel is the co-author of the BlackShades RAT, the other developer is the US man Michael Hogue, who already pleaded guilty to the same accusation. Hogue is scheduled to be sentenced on July 24.
The RAT was typically advertised on several hacking forums and “marketed as a product that conveniently combined the features of several different types of hacking tools.”
The BlackShades was very cheap, it was offered for a price ranging from $40 to $50. In 2012, Citizen Lab and EFF reported the notorious Blackshades was used in targeted attacks against the opposition forces in Syria.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Yucel was sentenced to four and three-quarter years in prison by U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel after pleading guilty in February. The man was also sentenced to a penalty of $200,000.
Yucel has already served 13 months in New York prison and one month in Moldova custody, where was jailed after its arrest in November 2013.
The man said he was sorry for his crime, asked the judge for leniency.
“I deeply regret starting this [BlackShades] whole project, which obviously went out of control,” Yücel said.
However, Castel sentenced him to 57 months behind bars along with a penalty of $200,000, saying that “the message must go forth that this is a serious crime.”
“We rely on our computers as an extension of how we live our lives,” Castel said in a press release. “This is spreading misery to the lives of thousands [of online people]. That’s what this is.”
Last year, a joint effort of law enforcement from Europe and US allowed authorities to identify and arrest more than 100 individuals involved in the development and commercialization of the BlackShades RAT.
Law enforcement also seized 1,900 command and control (CnC) domains.
(Security Affairs – BlackShades, cybercrime)