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Swedish national pleads not guilty to BlackShades malware

FBI aims to nail culprits after global sweep

By Vinod

A Swedish national accused of creating the malicious software that infected computers under the guise of an organization called BlackShades, has pleaded not guilty to computer hacking charges in a New York court.

As part of a global crackdown, US federal authorities issued a warrant for the arrest and extradition of Alex Yucel, who owns and operates BlackShades.

BlackShades was alleged to be the mastermind organization behind the malicious software called Remote Access Tool (RAT) which allows hackers to remotely control other computers, stealing passwords in the process and gaining access to personal files, claimed the authorities.

Yucel pleaded not guilty to charges that included conspiring to commit access to device fraud.

US prosecutors say they will present evidence including several laptop computers, tablets, e-mail accounts, and BlackShades subscriber records.

The software is not illegal in itself, and can be bought for $40, but installing it on someone else’s computer without their knowledge is against the law in most countries. In some cases users used RAT to take over computer cameras to spy on their owners.

If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison.

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This global crackdown on involved 19 countries, with more than 100 arrests made. US authorities say that the software has been sold to more than 100 countries since 2010.

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