A 24-year-old Australian national has been charged with knowingly creating and selling spyware for use by domestic abusers and child sex offenders.
Jacob Wayne John Keen, now living in Frankston, Melbourne, is said to have created the remote access trojan (RAT) when he was 15 years old, in addition to working as an administrator for the tool from 2013 until it was removed. authorities closed in 2019..
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) alleges in a press release over the weekend: “The Frankston man was involved with a personal network and sold spyware, known as Imminent Monitor (IM), to more than 14,500 individuals across 128 countries”.
Defendant was slapped with six counts of violating a computer by developing and providing malwarein addition to profiting from its illegal sale.
Another woman, 42, who lives in the same house as the defendant and has been identified by The Guardian as his mother, is also charged with “handling the proceeds of crime.”
AFP said the investigation, code-named Cepheus, was launched in 2017 when it received information about a “suspicious RAT” from the company. network security Palo Alto Networks and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
The operation, with 85 search warrants executed globally in collaboration with more than a dozen European law enforcement agencies, culminated in the seizure of 434 devices and the arrest of 13 people for their use. malware for malicious purposes.
No less than 201 individuals received a RAT in Australia alone, with 14.2% of buyers being referred to as domestic violence order responders. Also prominent among the buyers was one registered on the Child Sex Offenders Register.
Delivered via email and text messages, Imminent Monitor is capable of stealthily recording keystrokes as well as recording device webcams and microphones, making it an effective tool for users. use to track their goals.
The surveillance software, sold for around AU$35 on an underground hacking forum, is estimated to have raked in between $300,000 and $400,000 for operators, much of which is then spent on food delivery and other disposable and consumable items, AFP reported.
The agency said it believed there were tens of thousands of victims around the world, including 44 in Australia. If proven guilty, the individual faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
Chris Goldsmid, AFP’s cybercrime operations chief, said: “These types of malware are highly nefarious because it can provide criminals with virtual access to a victim’s bedroom or home without they don’t know.”
“Unfortunately, there are criminals who use these tools not only to steal personal information for financial gain, but also for very malicious and despicable crimes.”