'Warzone RAT' malware service that stole users' passwords busted, suspects arrested

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US authorities said Friday that they have seized websites used by cybercriminals to sell malware called “Warzone Rat” that can be used to steal data from victims' computers.

Two men have been arrested in Malta and Nigeria on related charges, they said.

Federal prosecutors in Boston say law enforcement officials have taken down four domains that offered to sell malware, allowing cybercriminals to secretly connect to people's computers for malicious purposes.

The malware, known as the Remote Access Trojan, allowed hackers to browse file systems, take screenshots, obtain victim usernames and passwords, record keystrokes and watch computer users through their web cameras, prosecutors said.

Jodi Cohen, head of the Boston office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, called it a sophisticated malware that infects computers around the world.

Two men overseas are now in custody and charged in the United States over their involvement.

The indictment, filed in federal court in Atlanta, charges Daniel Meli, 27, of Jabbar, Malta, with unauthorized damage to protected computers and other cyber-related crimes.

Beginning in 2012, prosecutors said, he sold malware products such as the Warzone RAT through online computer-hacking forums and offered educational tools, including an ebook, for sale. The US government is seeking his extradition.

Prince Onyojiri Odinakachi, 31, of Nigeria, was charged in an indictment filed in Boston with conspiring to commit multiple computer hacking crimes, prosecutors said.

From June 2019 to March 2023, Odinakachi provided online customer support to users of the Warzone RAT malware, the indictment said.

Defense lawyers for Meli and Odinakachi could not be immediately identified.



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