Aussie Allegedly Built Notorious RAT When He Was 15

Written by

An Australian man has been accused of developing a notorious remote access Trojan (RAT) used to spy on victims around the globe when he was just a teenager.

The 24-year-old resident of Melbourne faces six charges for his alleged role in “creating, selling and administering” the RAT between 2013 and 2019, a statement from the Australian Federal Police (AFP) explained.

Identified in news reports as Jacob Wayne John Keen and currently living in the Melbourne suburb of Frankston, the man is believed to have been just 15 when he developed the RAT whilst living in Brisbane with his mother.

The malware he developed allowed users to remotely control victims’ machines, steal their data and spy on them by turning on webcams and mics. It could be installed by phishing email, as well as other techniques.

“It will be alleged the Frankston man engaged with a network of individuals and sold the spyware, named Imminent Monitor (IM), to more than 14,500 individuals across 128 countries,” the AFP said.

“The AFP identified there were 201 individuals in Australia who bought the RAT. A statistically high percentage of Australia-based PayPal purchasers of IM RAT (14.2%) are named as respondents on domestic violence orders. Additionally, one of these purchasers is also registered on the Child Sex Offender Register.”

Although he sold it for just $35 a go, Keen is said to have made as much as $400,000 from the malware.

He’s alleged to have spent most of the proceeds on “food delivery services and other consumable and disposable items.”

This could be the culmination of a long-running police operation that began in 2017. At the time, the AFP received a tip-off from Palo Alto Networks about the RAT, which was finally shut down two years later.

Countless individuals have been arrested and convicted in the intervening years for purchasing and using Imminent Monitor, including a UK man who used it to spy on women via their webcams.

What’s hot on Infosecurity Magazine?