More than 100 people worldwide have been arrested following an FBI-led crackdown on hackers linked to a “remote administration tool” called Blackshades.

Known as a RAT or backdoor, Blackshades and other software like it allows attackers to remotely seize control of a users’ computer, turning on webcams, stealing passwords and personal information, and launching further attacks on other computers. The software itself is not illegal, and can be bought for as little as $40, but installing it on a victim’s computer without their knowledge is against the law in most countries.


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The Blanch Law Firm defended Alex Yucel of Sweden — who was busted along with more than 90 others in one of the largest global cybercrime crackdowns in history — told Manhattan federal Judge Kevin Castel that he “aided and abetted” the distribution of malicious “Blackshades” software “over the Internet without authorization,” knowing it would “cause damage.”

Yucel was known as the “mastermind” behind the Blackshades hacking. Before cutting his plea deal with the feds, he faced up to 45 years in prison on additional charges that included computer hacking and identity theft.

The accused mastermind behind the distribution of malicious software that infected a half-million computers worldwide — including one belonging to former Miss Teen USA Cassidy Wolf — faces up to seven years behind bars after pleading guilty in Manhattan court Wednesday.