Aussie cops help US hit hackers

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) are helping the FBI catch a bunch of hackers by the billabongs.

The FBI says Australians are being targeted in a global raid on users of the software program Blackshades Remote Access Tool (RAT).

“This software was sold and distributed to thousands of people in more than 100 countries and has been used to infect more than 500,000 computers worldwide,” the FBI said in a statement.

So far the program has already been used by hackers to steal personal data and launch cyber attacks.

The Blackshades RAT malware was uncovered during a previous international investigation called Operation Cardshop, which targeted “carding” crimes and offences in which the internet was used to traffic and exploit stolen credit cards and bank accounts.

You can tell if you have been infected if your cursor moves erratically with no input from you, if your web camera light unexpectedly turns on, or your monitor turns off while in use.

All this means that usernames and passwords for online accounts have been compromised and there will probably be unauthorised logins to bank accounts or unauthorised money transfers. It is also possible that a text-based chat window appears on your computer’s desktop unexpectedly

Michael Hogue and Alex Yucel have been identified as the Blackshades co-developers and Yucel, the head of the organisation that sold the malware, has been arrested in Moldova and is awaiting extradition to the US.

The FBI says the malware performs unwanted actions on computer systems including hacking into social media accounts, recording keystrokes, accessing documents and photos and activating webcams.

Aussies coppers have confirmed they are assisting the United States with the investigation, but a spokeswoman says the extent of its involvement cannot be revealed for operational reasons. It has ruled out a routine search under coolibah trees and random stop and searches of jolly swagman.