CBC News has reported that more than a half million computers in over 100 countries were infected by new malware called BlackShades.
BlackShades allows hackers to steal personal information and hijack webcams to secretly record users. The malware can also be used to lock data files and prevent access unless users pay a ransom.
The FBI said the BlackShades malware Remote Access Tool has been sold since 2010 to thousands of users. Its low cost has made it popular in the hacker underground with Symantec, technology security firm, citing that the program costs $40 to $100.
“This case is a strong reminder that no one is safe while using the Internet,” Koen Hermans, official from Eurojust, the European Union’s criminal investigation unit, said in a statement. “It should serve as a warning and deterrent to those involved in the manufacture and use of this software.”
In a similar case, eBay Inc. was recently attacked by hackers who hijacked a database that contained customer names, passwords, emails, addresses and phone numbers – thankfully, no financial information was stolen.
eBay is urging its customers to change their passwords as a precaution. The attack occurred between February and March of this year but was detected two weeks ago the CBC reports.
PayPal, the electric payment service eBay customers use to process transactions said it has not been affected. It states that there is no evidence that customers’ credit card information was compromised since the information is stored separately on a secure network.
A similar security breach occurred in March when Heartbleed, a computer bug threatening web security, infected computers by preying on OpenSSL servers used to secure communications on a majority of the world’s websites.