Protecting yourself from dangerous malware - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Protecting yourself from dangerous malware

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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Law enforcement across the globe are hoping to track down more people involved in creating and selling a malware called the Blackshades Remote Access Tool that compromised more than half a billion computers.

The hackers not only wanted to corrupt personal computers but also wanted to extort money by threatening to publicize intimate photos.

MORE: FBI: Blackshades infected half million computers

This malware adds a whole new definition to the phrase "Big Brother is watching." Sold for only $40 the virus would allow a computer user to take control of your web cam and personal photos. To get them back the hackers would demand money.

Their scheme ended on Monday with what U.S. officials are calling the largest ever global cyber law enforcement operation.

"We are announcing another global law enforcement operation that has exposed and crippled a frightening form of cyber crime," U.S. Preet Bharara said Monday.

The black market malware allowed hackers almost total control of your computer. The malicious software called Blackshades allowed criminals access to your passwords, documents and private photos. According to prosecutors a victim's privacy was open to extortion.

"It even gave users the ability to activate a computer's camera to spy on a person in the victim's own home," Bharara said.

Adam Blankenship of ProTech Systems Group in Memphis says many people had no idea that simple computer use could make them a victim.

"I would say it's very devious,' Blakenship said. "It could be to the point where you can just move your mouse over it."

Keeping your computer updated is the best protection, Blankenship said.

"Make sure your inpoint protection like antivirus installed on your computer and make sure that has the most recent virus definition," he said.

Blankenship said if you suspect your computer has been infected take it to reputable service for a complete scan.

As for the creators of the Blackshades malware prosecutors say they have been arrested but the hunt is on for co-conspirators worldwide.

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