An operation that involved Europol and various law enforcement and judicial authorities across Europe resulted in 12 individuals being arrested for the use of remote access Trojans (RATs).
According to an announcement from Europol, the coordinated action was carried out over a two-week period under the name of operation Falling sTAR. As part of the operation, multiple houses were searched, 12 individuals were arrested across France, Norway, and Romania, and a large number of computers and Internet accounts were seized.
Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) provided country authorities with support in their attempt to identify EU citizens, mainly young adults, which were suspected of misusing RATs to commit various types of cybercrime. Nine European countries received analytical and other operational support from Europol, which also hosted a number of operational coordination meetings.
The agency also explains that the participating countries worked in the framework of the EMPACT project, aimed at cyber-attacks affecting critical infrastructure and information systems in the EU. Other operations against the threat posed by RATs have been conducted in the past, and they proved successful, Europol noted.
“The very technologies that empower people in everyday situations can be exploited to target and harm unsuspecting victims. As crimes committed online remain an urgent and increasing challenge, law enforcement agencies have to join forces across borders and act in unison to protect the users and prevent young individuals from pursuing a criminal path,” Wil van Gemert, Europol’s Deputy Director Operations, said.
“Operation Falling sTAR is another striking example of how coordinated international efforts and effective law enforcement partnerships can counter and prevent cyber criminality,” van Gemert concluded.
Earlier this month, global law enforcement agencies in partnership with Microsoft, ESET and CERT Polska, managed to disrupt the Dorkbot botnet (also known as Nrgbot), one of the most widely distributed malware families. In mid-October, authorities in the United States and Europe announced they managed to disrupt the activities of the Dridex botnet, but the banking Trojan managed to achieve high infection rate only one month later.