Security

Essex Arrests Target Hacking Website

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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The two suspects are accused of running a website offering tools to help make malware undetectable

Two British suspects have been arrested following a joint investigation by the National Crime Agency’s National Cyber Crime Unit (NCCU) and Trend Micro into a website that sold hacking tools, according to the organisations.

A 22-year-old man and 22-year-old woman from Colchester, Essex, were detained and bailed until February of next year pending further investigations.

police handcuff security crime keyboard © Oleksiy Mark Shutterstock

The two are accused of running a website called reFUD.me that helped hackers make their infection files “FUlly unDetectable” by security software.

The website scanned files and if needed made changes to ensure their undetectability, claiming more than 1.2 million scans had been carried out since February of this year, the organisations said.

It also offered a sophisticated encryption service called “Cryptex Reborn”, intended to help disguise malicious files. Licences for the software were sold for prices ranging from $20 per month to $90 for lifetime use.

“This ongoing investigation shows how the NCA is taking its work with industry to combat cybercrime to the next level,” stated Steve Laval of the NCCU.

NCA partnership

The arrests follow a deal between Trend and the NCA in July of this year aimed at forming a cross-organisational team to target specific threats.

“This investigation is the result of Trend Micro’s collaboration with the NCA and other partners to tackle some of the core components that enable cybercriminal business models to exist,” said Martin Rösler, director of threat research at Trend Micro, in a statement.

Last week the government said it would double its expenditure on cyber-security to £1.9 billion by 2020, and would establish a National Cyber Centre (NCC) at GCHQ in order to help protect the UK’s critical infrastructure against cyber-attacks by nation states and militant groups.

In May the NCCU director Dr Jamie Saunders warned that the battle against cybercrime is a global one, and international cooperation is required if individual nations are to reap the benefits of the digital economy.

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