Feds launch massive crackdown on malicious software - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Feds launch massive crackdown on malicious software

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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -

More than a half-million computers around the globe were infected with a malicious software called BlackShades. On Monday, the FBI announced the arrest of nearly 100 people involved in the operation.

Working in a field where keeping companies and their computers safe is the No. 1 priority, Jack Clements admits it can be challenging at times.

"The IT world is moving so fast, people who are trying to keep hackers out are trying to keep up with them," said Clements, who works at Bellwether Technology in New Orleans as Virtual Chief Information Officer.

The U.S. Justice Department announced a major cyber crime crackdown.

"Our investigation revealed that over the past four years, the BlackShades RAT was purchased by users in over 100 countries, infecting more than half a million computers," said Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

In a coordinated effort, the FBI worked with other police agencies to arrest the hackers.

Explaining how the system worked, Bharara said, "Once installed on a victim's computer, the BlackShades RAT allowed users to remotely and secretly gain access to everything on the victim's computer."

That included passwords for online accounts, personal photographs and even webcams.

Clements said it's relatively easy to install anti-virus software on computers, and there are some common-sense tips that should always be followed.

"There's these things called phishing scams that may be sent to you via email and may look legitimate, but if you don't recognize the address, don't click on any link or marketing material from those," said Clements.

Another line of protection is multiple-factor authentication. Lots of trusted sites will give you the option to log in not only with a password, but you can also choose to have a special code texted to your phone or you can choose to answer security questions.

When it comes to a password, Clements says, the more complicated, the better.

"A great trick might be, if you have Who Dat to have capital h and then a zero for the O, and so it's not necessarily going on as one word, but it's something you can easily remember," Clements said.

One more tip: IT experts say be careful about connecting to public WIFI.

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