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US Feds arrested two men involved in the Warzone RAT operation
Pierluigi Paganini February 12, 2024
The U.S. Justice Department (DoJ) seized the infrastructure that was used to sell the remote access trojan (RAT) Warzone RAT.
The Justice Department announced the seizure of internet domains used to sell the remote access Trojan Warzone RAT (www.warzone[.]ws).
The seizure is the result of an international law enforcement operation, federal authorities in Atlanta and Boston charged individuals in Malta and Nigeria, for their involvement in selling the malware.
According to court documents, the FBI covertly purchased and analyzed the Warzone RAT.
“Federal authorities in Boston seized www.warzone.ws and three related domains, which together offered for sale the Warzone RAT malware — a sophisticated remote access trojan (RAT) capable of enabling cybercriminals to surreptitiously connect to victims’ computers for malicious purposes.” reads the press release published by DoJ. “According to court documents authorizing the seizures, the Warzone RAT provided cybercriminals the ability to browse victim file systems, take screenshots, record keystrokes, steal victim usernames and passwords, and watch victims through their web cameras, all without the victims’ knowledge or permission.”
Investigations conducted by the US authorities led to two indictments against two men, Daniel Meli (27) and Prince Onyeoziri Odinakachi (31).
The two individuals are charged with selling and supporting the Warzone RAT and other malware.
Meli allegedly provided cybercriminals with malware products and services via online hacking forums. He is suspected of aiding cybercriminals in deploying Remote Access Trojans (RATs) for malicious purposes and selling instructional tools, including an eBook. Meli sold the Warzone RAT and, previously, the Pegasus RAT, distributed through the criminal organization Skynet-Corporation. Furthermore, he allegedly offered customer support to buyers of both RATs.
Meli offered malware products and services for sale to cybercriminals through online computer-hacking forums. Specifically, Meli allegedly assisted cybercriminals seeking to use RATs for malicious purposes and offered teaching tools for sale, including an eBook. Meli also allegedly sold both the Warzone RAT and, before that, malware known as the Pegasus RAT, which he sold through an online criminal organization called Skynet-Corporation. The man also provided online customer support to purchasers of both RATs.
The second man, Prince Onyeoziri Odinakachi, from Nigeria, was indicted by a federal grand jury in the District of Massachusetts on January 30. He is accused of conspiracy to commit various cybercrimes, such as gaining authorized access to protected computers and causing unauthorized damage to protected computers. Between June 2019 and March 2023, Odinakachi provided online customer support to individuals who purchased and utilized the Warzone RAT malware.
The two individuals were arrested on February 7, 2024.
“The charges of conspiracy, obtaining authorized access to protected computers to obtain information, illegally selling an interception device, and illegally advertising an interception device each provide for a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater.” concludes DoJ. “The charge of causing unauthorized damage to protected computers provides for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater.”
(SecurityAffairs – Hacking, malware)