UK clampdown on PC hijackers prompts four arrests
NCA-led initiative to stop users of Remote Access Trojans results in multiple arrests
Four arrests have been made in the UK as part of a clampdown on the use of nefarious software that allows hackers to remotely take over the control of end users' machines.
Two men and a woman in her thirties from Leeds have been arrested, along with a 20-year-old man from Kent, all accused of using Remote Access Trojans (RATs) for criminal purposes.
The arrests were part of an international effort led by the National Crime Agency (NCA) with the assistance of Regional Organised Crime Units (ROCUs) in the UK, which has so far resulted in 11 arrests across Europe.
People who employ these kinds of tools often coerce victims into clicking on picture, video or file links that are housing an installer for the RAT, which then goes on to infect their machines.
Once deployed, the RAT can be used to remotely control their devices, allowing criminals to snoop on people's personal data, operate their webcams or enlist their computers to take part in a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack.
Andy Archibald, deputy director of the NCA's National Cyber Crime Unit, said RATs represent a considerable threat to the cyber security of UK citizens and businesses.
"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," he said.
Archibald added the operation should act as a deterrent to others considering a move into the world of cybercrime.
"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 said.
"Anyone who is tempted to get involved in this type of crime should understand that it can result in prison time, and substantial restrictions on your life afterwards."
The NCA says computer users can protect themselves against falling victim to Trojans by ensuring they are using the most up-to-date versions of operating systems and security software, and by not clicking on unknown links or opening files from suspicious sources.
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