First rumors of the operation emerged last week, when the members of various popular hacker forums revealed that they were raided by police. On Monday, Europol confirmed the operation and provided more details.
Raids took place in over 10 countries, including Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Germany, the UK, Estonia, Austria, Canada, the US, Denmark, Chile, Italy and Croatia.
A total of more than 1,000 computers, laptops, mobile phones, USB sticks, external hard drives and routers were seized by investigators.
The BlackShades RAT, which is currently sold for between $40 and $100, is highly popular among cybercriminals. The malware can be used to hijack webcams, steal files, log keystrokes, and launch denial-of-service attacks against a designated target.
In a recent case in the Netherlands, an 18-year-old used it to infect over 2,000 computers. The teen hijacked the webcams of infected devices in an effort to capture intimate pictures of women.
The FBI arrested Michael Hogue, one of the creators of BlackShades, back in 2012. However, others continued to improve the RAT even after Hogue’s arrest. In November 2013, Symantec announced that the use of BlackShades had increased in the previous five months.