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Malware king jailed after stealing data from half a million people

The creator of an infamous piece of malware that spread across over a hundred countries has been sentenced to almost five years in prison by a US court.

Alex Yücel was found guilty of selling malware which US authorities claim was used to hack into more than half a million computers in more than 100 countries, giving him a tasty 57 months in prison.

Yücel and his organisation, Blackshades, sold their eponymous Remote Access Tool (RAT) online and reportedly made over $350,000 in the process. When deployed, the tool allowed an attacker to remotely gain access to another person’s computer without them being aware of the incursion, and reportedly let nefarious users activate peoples’ webcams and steal personal information without detection.

Yücel AKA marjinz, a Swedish citizen, was arrested in Moldova back in 2013 and extradited to the US to face prosecution for distributing malicious software. The 25 year old pleaded guilty in February and was sentenced by US District Judge P Kevin Castel.

The co-creator of Blackshades RAT, Michael Hogue AKA xVisceral, was arrested in 2012 and also pleaded guilty to two charges of computer hacking. The Arizona native is still awaiting sentencing for the crimes, which each carry a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment.

In a statement, Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara said:

“Alex Yücel created, marketed, and sold software that was designed to accomplish just one thing – gain control of a computer, and with it, a victim’s identity and other important information. This malware victimized thousands of people across the globe and invaded their lives. But Yucel’s computer hacking days are now over.”

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