Updated February 10th, 2024 at 13:05 IST
US authorities disrupt 'Warzone RAT' malware service, arrest suspects
According to federal prosecutors in Boston, four domains facilitating the sale of the Warzone RAT malware have been taken down.
US authorities have announced the seizure of websites associated with the distribution of the malicious software known as "Warzone RAT." The malware, capable of infiltrating victims' computers and extracting sensitive data, has been a source of concern for cybersecurity experts globally.
According to federal prosecutors in Boston, four domains facilitating the sale of the Warzone RAT malware have been taken down, marking a crucial step in the fight against cyber threats. The malware, categorised as a remote access trojan, enables hackers to surreptitiously access victims' computers, allowing for a range of malicious activities including browsing file systems, capturing screenshots, stealing user credentials, recording keystrokes, and even accessing web cameras.
Jodi Cohen, head of the FBI's Boston office, described the Warzone RAT as sophisticated malware with widespread global impact, highlighting the urgency of addressing such cyber threats.
The operation has also led to the arrest of two individuals, one in Malta and another in Nigeria, on charges related to their alleged involvement in the distribution and support of the Warzone RAT malware.
Daniel Meli, 27, from Zabbar, Malta, faces charges of causing unauthorized damage to protected computers and other cyber-related offenses. Prosecutors allege that Meli has been selling malware products, including the Warzone RAT, since 2012 through online hacking forums, and even offered educational materials such as eBooks for sale. The US government is now seeking his extradition to face trial.
Meanwhile, Prince Onyeoziri Odinakachi, 31, from Nigeria, stands accused of conspiracy to commit multiple computer intrusion offenses. The indictment against Odinakachi asserts that he provided online customer support to users of the Warzone RAT malware between June 2019 and March 2023.
As the legal proceedings unfold, defence lawyers for Meli and Odinakachi have yet to be identified, underscoring the ongoing complexity of cybercrime investigations and prosecutions.
The crackdown on the Warzone RAT malware service underscores the collaborative efforts of law enforcement agencies to combat cyber threats and protect individuals and organizations from malicious actors operating in the digital realm.
(With Reuters inputs)
Published February 10th, 2024 at 13:05 IST