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U.S. Takes Stringent Action Against Hacking Network with Thousands of Customers

Credits: CPO Magazine

In a significant move against a prolific global cybercrime network, two individuals have been apprehended in Nigeria and Malta. At the same time, FBI agents in Boston seized computer servers associated with the group, the US Justice Department reported on Friday.

This crackdown targeted a cybercrime network notorious for stealing and selling data from Americans and small businesses. The group allegedly operated by vending a widely-used hacking tool called Warzone RAT for less than $200, facilitating global data theft for sale on the dark web.

According to Brett Leatherman, the FBI’s acting deputy assistant director of cyber operations, at least 7,000 customers have reportedly acquired this malicious software, which foreign governments have also utilized in their hacking operations. He refrained from disclosing the identities of the involved governments.

Hacker Hero (Credits: Avast)

While the action doesn’t completely eliminate the hacking tool from the internet, it significantly hampers its accessibility and usage, Leatherman noted.

This initiative is part of broader efforts by US law enforcement to curtail the multibillion-dollar cybercrime industry that adversely impacts individuals and businesses globally.

Despite endeavors to sever their financial flows, cybercriminals successfully extorted a record $1.1 billion in ransom payments worldwide last year, as reported by crypto-tracking firm Chainalysis.

As a consequence of the recent crackdown, Maltese authorities arrested 27-year-old Daniel Meli, who is accused of engaging in cybercriminal forums since adolescence and selling various hacking tools, including Warzone RAT.

Maltese lawyer Joseph Giglio, reportedly representing Meli, has not responded to CNN’s request for comment. Simultaneously, Nigerian authorities apprehended 31-year-old Prince Onyeoziri Odinakachi, accused of providing “customer support” to Warzone RAT buyers. CNN has not identified a legal representative for Odinakachi.

The United States seeks the extradition of both Meli and Odinakachi. While the operation delivers a significant blow to the cybercriminal group, it may not necessarily lead to its complete dismantlement, as explained by Leatherman. The overarching objective is to halt attacks on US and international victims by disrupting the criminal enterprise.

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