What happened now? An Australian has been arrested on suspicion of creating and distributing a hacking tool to thousands of cybercriminals around the world. The 24-year-old hacker is accused of creating and selling a remote access Trojan designed to steal personal information and spy on unsuspecting targets. The creator of the virus has made over $300,000 selling the tool, most of which has apparently been used to deliver takeaways since he was 15 years old.
Jacob Wayne John Keane, 24, was arrested on suspicion of selling a trojan called Imminent Monitor to domestic violence cybercriminals, including those from 128 different countries. The tool allowed users to target unsuspecting victims in order to steal their personal details, monitor information entered into documents, and spy on them using the target’s webcams and microphones.
The arrest was made after a global special operation that was launched in 2017. A worldwide operation called Operation Cephus was launched after the Australian Federal Police were given suspicious information from the FBI and Palo Alto Networks.
Keane allegedly created and began distributing the tool at $35 per user at the age of 15 while living in his mother’s rented apartment. The instrument earned between $300,000 and $400,000 until it was finally closed in 2019. The closure followed the execution of several search warrants issued by AFP that seized equipment and assets that found evidence pointing to RAT development. Keane’s recent arrest was based on additional evidence provided to AFP by participating law enforcement agencies around the world.
According to AFP reports, the tool has been used to spy on tens of thousands of victims around the world, and at least 200 buyers of the tool have come directly from Australia. A large number of Australian suspects were also found to have been involved in previous domestic violence calls, and this correlation sheds some light on which perpetrators used the nefarious tool. Investigations into other entities that may have used this tool are still ongoing.
Evidence analyzed by authorities showed that most of the proceeds from the hacking tool were used to buy takeaway food during Keane’s 9+ years of involvement. He was charged with six charges earlier this month and is due to appear in court sometime in August. It also appears that Keane’s 42-year-old mother may have been aware of and benefited from the criminal activity. She was also charged with trading in and profiting from the sale of an invasive tool.
Image credit: Thaton Moise
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