International law enforcement operation shuts down Imminent Monitor RAT operations

Pierluigi Paganini November 29, 2019

A successful new operation was announced by Europol, it announced to have dismantled the global organized cybercrime ring behind Imminent Monitor RAT.

Europol announced to have dismantled the global organized cybercrime ring behind the Imminent Monitor RAT,

The Imminent Monitor RAT is a hacking tool that allows threat actors to remotely control the victim’s computers, it could be used to carry out various malicious actions, including:

  • recording keystrokes,
  • stealing data and passwords from browsers,
  • spying on victims via their webcams,
  • download/execute files,
  • disabling anti-virus and anti-malware software,
  • terminate running processes,
  • and perform dozens of other actions.

The international operation conducted by law enforcement agencies targeted both the sellers and users of the Imminent Monitor Remote Access Trojan (IM-RAT).

The investigation sees the participation of the Australian Federal Police (AFP), the Europol and the Eurojust along with numerous judicial and law enforcement agencies in Europe, Colombia, and Australia.

According to the authorities, the popular hacking tool was used across 124 countries where it was bought by more than 14 500 hackers, that now after the operation will no longer be able to use it.

“Search warrants were executed in Australia and Belgium in June 2019 against the developer and one employee of IM-RAT. Subsquently, an international week of actions was carried out this November, resulting in the takedown of the Imminent Monitor infrastructure and the arrest at this stage of 13 of the most prolific users of this Remote Access Trojan (RAT).” reads the press release published by the Europol. “Over 430 devices were seized and forensic analysis of the large number of computers and IT equipment seized continues.”

The police seized the infrastructure used by the organization behind the Imminent Monitor RAT and seized over 430 devices used by the gang and its customers.

Imminent Monitor RAT was very popular because it is ease of use, and it is very cheap, it was offered for as little as $25 with lifetime access.

“We now live in a world where, for just US$25, a cybercriminal halfway across the world can, with just a click of the mouse, access your personal details or photographs of loved ones or even spy on you,” says Steven Wilson, Head of Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3).

“The global law enforcement cooperation we have seen in this case is integral to tackling criminal groups who develop such tools. It is also important to remember that some basic steps can prevent you from falling victim to such spyware: we continue to urge the public to ensure their operating systems and security software are up to date.”

The law enforcement speculates hackers using the hacking tool to steal personal details, passwords, private photographs, video footage, and data from tens of thousands of victims.

“The cybercriminals selling and using the IM-RAT affected the computers of tens of thousands of victims worldwide. We would like to thank all the judicial and law enforcement authorities involved for the excellent results achieved in this operation.” said Daniela Buruiana, National Member for Romania at Eurojust and Chair of its Cybercrime Team “These authorities have shown an extremely high level of commitment and legal and technical expertise. Effective cooperation and coordination among all the relevant actors are vital in overcoming the obstacles to investigations due to the global scale and technical sophistication of this type of crime.’”

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Imminent Monitor RAT, cybercrime)

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