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Monmouth County Man Arrested in International Cybercrime Crackdown

The Middletown Township man arrested in federal cyber enforcement sweep is accused of using malicious software called Blackshades to spy on 45 victims using their web cameras

A resident of Middletown Township was arrested today on charges he used a silent and malicious hacking software known as "Blackshades" to hack into social media accounts, spread viruses and snatch sensitive information. 

Marlen Rappa, 41, of Pacific Avenue in North Middletown was arrested at home by federal authorities on Monday morning in a coordinated sweep by law enforcement in more than a dozen countries. He faces computer hacking charges in Manhattan Federal Court.

According to court documents released by Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Rappa conspired with others to purchase $40 malware from Blackshades on Feb. 29, 2012.

Before the FBI executed a search warrant at his home in March and seized his six-year old computer from his garage, Rappa is alleged to have used the Blackshades Remote Access Tool (known as the RAT) to infect at least 35 victims' computers with the Blackshades keylogger tool to capture passwords, spy on 45 victims using their web cameras, and steal photos and video files from approximately 95 victims' computers. The stolen photographs included sexually explicit images, authorities said. 

According to the court documents signed by FBI Special Agent Samad D. Shahrani, Rappa, was allegedly known as "nelram," is said to have used a variety of other hacking tools, such as "Dark Comet 5.2" which is another brand of Remote Access Tool. Other folders in his computer appeared to contain tools called JRAT, Sharpeye RAT, Pocket RAT, Cerberus RAT, Xtreme RAT and Syla RAT. 

The FBI says that since about 2010, several thousand people in more than 100 countries have purchased the Blackshades RAT and infected more than half a million computers worldwide. 

The FBI said it traced Rappa fter obtaining records from Google for the email account created by Rappa on January 29, 2012, which revealed his IP address, email subscriber name ("Marlen R.") and phone number. The feds used this information to link him to Blackshades through the company's Hotmail email account for customer support, which it had also received a warrant to search. 

Read more about the international raid in this article in USA Today, The Wall Street Journal and CNN
Gil May 20, 2014 at 06:49 AM
Why isn't the FBI arresting whomever sells this Blackshades RAT or makes it?
Guess Who May 21, 2014 at 03:31 AM
they're probably not in the USA , but then again the government in this country rarely does anything intelligent
Guess Who May 21, 2014 at 03:36 AM
Computer hacking, spyware and malware cost American citizens billions of dollars a year and the result of spyware like this scummer used can affect his victims for life, so I feel punishment should minimally be life in prison for what he did, but I prefer a death sentence for bat rastards like him. Too many of these sleazy types in the news lately and most only get a slap on the wrist an/or a few months probation.
Guess Who May 21, 2014 at 03:38 AM
the worst part of this story was that by naming the spyware in the story, any low life who wants it now knows the names of the programs and/or company so now knows if typed into a search engine it's easy to find out where to buy it to mess with more peoples lives.

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