Colton Grubbs, 21, of Stanford, Kentucky, the author of the infamous LuminosityLink RAT, was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison,
In February, 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 Colton Grubbs, the man admitted to designing, marketing, and selling LuminosityLink.
Grubbs offered for sale the malware for $39.99 to more than 6,000 customers, he also helped them to hack computers worldwide.
“Grubbs previously admitted to designing, marketing, and selling a software, called
LuminosityLink, that Grubbs knew would be used by some customers to remotely access and control their victims’ computers without the victims’ knowledge or consent. Among other malicious features, LuminosityLink allowed Grubbs’ customers to record the keys that victims pressed on their keyboards, surveil victims using their computers’ cameras and microphones, view and download the computers’ files, and steal names and passwords used to access websites.” reads the DoJ’s sentence.
“Directly and indirectly, Grubbs offered assistance to his customers on how to use LuminosityLink for unauthorized computer intrusions through posts and group chats on websites such as HackForums.net. “
Grubbs will serve 85% of his prison sentence, then he will be released under supervision of the United States Probation Office for a term of three years.
Grubbs must forfeit the proceeds of his crimes, including 114 Bitcoin that was seized by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
“Our modern society is dependent on computers, mobile devices, and the use of the internet. It is essential that we vigorously prosecute those who erode that confidence and illicitly gain access to computer systems and the electronic information of others. Everyone benefits when this deceitful conduct is discovered, investigated, and prosecuted,” Robert M. Duncan, Jr., United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, said.
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.
(Security Affairs – Luminosity RAT, cybercrime)