‘Malicious’ way Aussies are being hacked

‘Malicious’ way Aussies are being hacked

Australians are being warned to be vigilant online amid a shocking surge in criminals attempting to steal personal data by tricking users into downloading malicious software.

The Australian Federal Police warn that criminals at home and abroad are using remote access trojan viruses, or RATs, to covertly survey or steal data from their victims.

Police say RATs, or similar malware, are being used to embed viruses into victim’s devices, including via email attachments and video game add-ons or modifications.

Once downloaded, the malware automatically installs onto the user’s device, allowing criminals access to their webcams, microphones, passwords, location data, and files.

AFP Acting Assistant Commissioner Chris Goldsmid said cybercriminals were increasingly attempting to exploit Australians by using RATs and malware.

“These viruses, known as RATs, are the tools of cybercriminals and are built to spread and take over a victim’s device, just like a plague,” Mr Goldsmid said.

“This is a reminder for all Australians to practise good cyber hygiene and of how important it is to keep software and virus protection updated.

“Vulnerabilities in old or unprotected software are often the target for criminals attempting to gain control over a system so the owner can be targeted and exploited.”

Mr Goldsmith said cybercriminals were able to build RATs that limit detection by some antivirus software and could evolve into “extreme and malicious” forms of theft.

The maximum penalty for people found guilty of gaining remote access to a computer, including for the purposes of extortion or financial crime, is 10 years in prison.

In April, the AFP charged an Australian man with developing and selling a RAT called Firebird to customers on an online hacking forum website.

Last year, a Geelong man was sentenced to three years good behaviour after he pleaded guilty to purchasing an “Orcus” RAT that infected more than 700 devices.

The AFP said the man embedded the RAT into video game modifications, or mods, with the intent to steal data from gamers who were at risk from malicious malware.

The AFP’s cybercrime team have found mods containing RATs in popular online games like PUBG, Runescape, Minecraft, and ARK Survival.

  • https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australia/malicious-way-aussies-are-being-hacked/ar-BB1nVbtL?ocid=00000000

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