Beware Brit cops bearing battering rams. Four nabbed over Trojan claims

Rozzers join international Europol operation


British cops have arrested four people suspected of using Trojans to illegally take control of computers.

The arrests were made as part of a international operation led by Europol which aimed to clamp down on the criminal use of Remote Access Trojans (RATs).

These malware nasties are capable of taking command of a target's system, allowing hackers to launch botnet attacks, amass vast amounts of potentially valuable private information and turn webcams into pervy peepholes.

A 33-year-old man and a 30-year-old woman were arrested in Armley, Leeds, northern England, while and another 33-year-old man was also arrested in Leeds. Back down south, a 20-year-old man was arrested in Chatham, Kent.

A Liverpudlian man, aged 19, was also brought in for voluntary questioning.

Police sources told us the suspects were not linked to each other.

The UK operation was organised by the National Crime Agency (NCA) and carried out by local forces.

Meanwhile, a further 11 people were arrested in Estonia, France, Romania, Latvia, Italy, and Norway, all in connection with the case.

The NCA warned that criminals can use RATS to "turn victims’ webcams on and off, access banking or other personal information, download new and potentially illegal content, and instruct the victim’s computer to help commit acts of criminality, such as Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attacks".

Victims are generally snared when they click on a false link and may not know their machine has been infected.

Andy Archibald, deputy director of the NCA’s National Cyber Crime Unit, said: “The illegal use of remote access Trojans is a significant cyber crime threat, demanding this kind of strong, coordinated response from an international to local UK level.

"Suspected users of RATs are continuing to find that, despite having no physical contact or interaction with their victims, they can still be identified, tracked down and arrested by the NCA and its partners," he added.

“This operation demonstrates once again that all of UK law enforcement is working to respond effectively to cyber crime, and together we will continue to collaboratively target those who use technology to misuse other people’s devices, steal their money, or unlawfully access confidential information," said Archibald. ®

Similar topics

Broader topics


Other stories you might like

  • UK police to spend tens of millions on legacy comms network kit
    More evidence of where that half-a-billion-a-year cost of Emergency Services Network delay is going

    The UK's police service is set to spend up to £50 million ($62.7 million) buying hardware and software for a legacy communication network that was planned to become obsolete in 2019.

    The Home Office had planned to replace the Airwave secure emergency communication system, which launched in 2000, with a more advanced Emergency Services Network by the close of the decade. However, the legacy network has seen its life extended as its replacement was beset with delays. The ESN is expected to go live in 2026.

    In a procurement notice, the Police Digital Service (PDS) said it was looking for up to three suppliers of Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA) Encryption Algorithm 2 (TEA2) compatible radio devices – including handheld, desktop, and mobile terminals – as well as software, accessories, services, and maintenance for use on the UK Airwave system.

    Continue reading
  • Super-spreader FluBot squashed by Europol
    Your package is delayed. Click this innocent-looking link to reschedule

    FluBot, the super-spreader Android malware that infected tens of thousands of phones globally, has been reportedly squashed by an international law enforcement operation.

    In May, Dutch police disrupted the mobile malware's infrastructure, disconnecting thousands of victims' devices from the FluBot network and preventing more than 6.5 million spam text messages propagating the bot from reaching potential victims, according to Finland's National Bureau of Investigation on Wednesday.

    The takedown followed a Europol-led investigation that involved law enforcement agencies from Australia, Belgium, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands and the US. 

    Continue reading
  • Techniques to fool AI with hidden triggers are outpacing defenses – study
    Here's how to catch up with those poisoning machine-learning systems

    The increasingly wide use of deep neural networks (DNNs) for such computer vision tasks as facial recognition, medical imaging, object detection, and autonomous driving is going to, if not already, catch the attention of cybercriminals.

    DNNs have become foundational to deep learning and to the larger field of artificial intelligence (AI). They're a multi-layered class of machine learning algorithms that essentially try to mimic how a human brain works and are becoming more popular in developing modern applications.

    That use is expected to increase rapidly in the coming years. According to analysts with Emergen Research, the worldwide market for DNN technology will grow from $1.26bn in 2019 to $5.98bn by 2027, with demand in such industries as healthcare, banking, financial services and insurance surging.

    Continue reading
  • ‘Precursor malware’ infection may be sign you're about to get ransomware, says startup
    As more and more biz pays up to restore data, we're told

    Ransomware is among the most feared of the myriad cyberthreats circulating today, putting critical data at risk and costing some enterprises tens of millions of dollars in damage and ransoms paid. However, ransomware doesn't occur in a vacuum, according to security startup Lumu Technologies.

    A ransomware infection is usually preceded by what Lumu founder and CEO Ricardo Villadiego calls "precursor malware," essentially reconnaissance malicious code that has been around for a while and which lays the groundwork for the full ransomware campaign to come. Find and remediate that precursor malware and a company can ward off the ransomware attack is the theory.

    "The moment you see your network – and by network, I mean the network defined the modern times, whatever you have on premises, whatever is out in the clouds, whatever you have with your remote users – when you see any assets from your network contacting an adversarial infrastructure, eliminate that contact because that puts you in your zone of maximum resistance to attacks," Villadiego told The Register.

    Continue reading
  • UK Home Office dangles £20m for national gun licence database system
    But potential bidders will have to move fast on this one

    The Home Office is looking to replace its ancient and creaky National Firearms Licensing Management System (NFLMS) in a £20m contract.

    NFLMS is the central police database of every firearm owner and every individual firearm in England and Wales. Whoever wins the contract will have a relatively low profile but critically important system to deliver.

    "NFLMS is used by forces teams across England and Wales and these teams conduct approximately 170,000 licence grants, renewals and variations per year," said a notice on procurement website Bidstats.uk.

    Continue reading
  • China thrilled it captured already-leaked NSA cyber-weapon
    Not now with your mischief, Beijing

    China claims it has obtained malware used by the NSA to steal files, monitor and redirect network traffic, and remotely control computers to spy on foreign targets.

    The software nasty, dubbed NOPEN, is built to commandeer selected Unix and Linux systems, according to Chinese Communist Party tabloid Global Times, which today cited a report it got exclusively from China's National Computer Virus Emergency Response Center.

    Trouble is, NOPEN was among the files publicly leaked in 2016 by the Shadow Brokers. If you can recall back that far, the Shadow Brokers stole and dumped online malware developed by the NSA's Equation Group.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022