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Alleged NetWire RAT Operator Arrested in Croatia as FBI Seizes Website

Authorities seized a domain distributing the NetWire RAT and arrested a Croatian individual who administered the website.

NetWire RAT website seized

Authorities this week announced the seizure of a domain distributing the NetWire remote access trojan (RAT) and the arrest of a Croatian national suspected of operating the website.

First discovered a decade ago, NetWire is one of the best-known malware families out there, used by both cybercriminals and state-sponsored threat actors to steal victim information and remotely control infected devices.

A multi-platform RAT, the NetWire malware has often been hidden in malicious Office documents, frequently distributed via phishing emails. The threat can achieve persistence on infected devices, execute commands, exfiltrate files, log keystrokes, and download additional payloads.

NetWire’s malicious capabilities have been marketed on underground forums. The malware has been offered at a price range between $80 and $140.

On Thursday, US authorities announced the seizure of, a website that has been selling NetWire for several years, under the disguise of a legitimate business tool designed for infrastructure maintenance.

The domain was seized on March 7, the same day that Croatian police arrested an individual suspected of being the administrator of the website. Additionally, servers hosting the NetWire RAT infrastructure were seized in Switzerland.

The arrested individual, who is believed to have been marketing and distributing NetWire since 2012 and who will be prosecuted in Croatia, has not been named by the authorities.

According to investigative journalist Brian Krebs, however, the individual appears to be Mario Zanko, from Zapresic, Croatia.

Krebs has identified multiple email addresses and domains associated with the individual, including a domain hosted at the same IP address as, as well as three Skype account names that appear associated with the suspect.

One of the Skype names is Netwire, while the other is Dugidox, “the hacker handle most frequently associated with NetWire sales and support discussion threads on multiple cybercrime forums over the years”, according to Krebs.

Related: Industry Reactions to Hive Ransomware Takedown: Feedback Friday

Related: US Charges Six in Operation Targeting 48 DDoS-for-Hire Websites

Related: US Authorities Seize Domains Selling Stolen Data, DDoS Services

Written By

Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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