Feds Seize Malware Domains, Indict Suspects in International Cybercrime Crackdown

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Federal authorities, as part of an international law enforcement effort, have seized internet domains used for selling computer malware utilized by cybercriminals to covertly access and steal data from victims’ computers. The move comes alongside the unsealing of indictments against individuals in Malta and Nigeria, alleging their involvement in selling the malware and supporting cybercriminals in its malicious use.

U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan stated, “Daniel Meli will no longer escape accountability for his actions selling malware,” emphasizing the collaborative effort across federal and international agencies to bring Meli to justice. Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta, Keri Farley, reiterated the commitment to pursuing those who profit from criminal cyber activity, emphasizing the FBI’s determination to protect victims and safeguard against such threats.

The seized domains, including www.warzone.ws, offered for sale the Warzone RAT malware—a sophisticated remote access trojan enabling cybercriminals to clandestinely connect to victims’ computers for nefarious purposes. The malware provided capabilities such as browsing victim file systems, recording keystrokes, and accessing web cameras, all without victims’ consent.

Daniel Meli of Malta and Prince Onyeoziri Odinakachi of Nigeria face indictments for their alleged involvement in selling and supporting the Warzone RAT malware. Meli, arrested in Malta, faces charges including causing unauthorized damage to protected computers and participating in a conspiracy to commit computer intrusion offenses. Odinakachi, indicted in Massachusetts, is accused of providing online customer support to individuals who purchased and used the malware.

The disruption of the Warzone RAT infrastructure was achieved through a coordinated effort involving law enforcement agencies from various countries, facilitated by Europol. The charges against Meli and Odinakachi carry penalties of up to five years in prison for conspiracy and obtaining authorized access to protected computers, and up to ten years for causing unauthorized damage to protected computers.