The creator of the Luminosity Trojan pleaded guilty
In September 2017, the Europol’s European Cybercrime Center (EC3) and the National Crime Agency (NCA) began to fight against the Luminosity Trojan, also known as LuminosityLink RAT. The target of law enforcement officers was to arrest both the sellers and the users of this malicious software. In February 2018, there was an international law enforcement operation, during which the author of the malware was finally apprehended.
21-year-old US citizen Colton Grubbs, a developer of Lumunosity, pleaded guilty to federal charges of creating, selling and providing technical support for malicious software used to gain an unauthorized access to thousands of computers in 78 countries around the world.
The first appeared in April 2015, the Trojan LuminosityLink RAT was a cyberweapon disguised as utility for Windows OS and used to “take control over a large number of computers simultaneously.” In fact, LuminosityLink RAT represented a dangerous trojan for getting remote access to certain PC. It was intended for disabling the anti-virus protection on the victim’s computer, and also for controlling the web camera, viewing documents and photos, stealing passwords and installing a keylogger program.
Grubbs, known on the Web by his nickname KFC Watermelon, advertised and sold LuminosityLink RAT on his website, as well as on the public Internet forum HackForums.net. This malicious program was purchased by more than 6 thousand people whose main purpose was using it to intercept control over tens of thousands of computers in 78 countries all over the world.
Previously Grubbs positioned LuminosityLink RAT as the legitimate software for system administrators. But according to the signed plea deal, the author was aware that some clients used this program to hack the victims’ computers.
The attacker also admitted to attempts to hide the evidences of his crime, in particular, a laptop, the hard drives, a debit card connected to his bitcoin purse and a phone. Having done this, he already knew that FBI officers were going to search his apartment.
Grubbs also pleaded guilty to intrusion into private lives of many users, conspiracy and financial damage of more than $5,000. The criminal faces up to 25 years of imprisonment and a fine of $750, 000.