reported yesterday about a major development in the fight against malware:

One of the largest global cybercrime crackdowns has yielded the arrests of more than 100 people linked to the Blackshades malware, with 365 searches conducted and 102 interviews competed, officials told CNN.

Blackshades is a difficult to detect piece of malware sporting a low price tag, ease of use, and sophistication that have made it the favorite of everyone from your friendly neighborhood hacker to sophisticated international cyber criminals. The malware is a remote administration tool (RAT) that gives attackers access to the infected computer’s hard drives, keystrokes, and (for maximum creepiness) webcam. It garnered national attention last year when a former classmate used it to hack the computer of a Miss Teen USA winner.

Systems are most often infected through a Trojan Horse style of attack. In a hypothetical scenario, a user receives a message or a post on social media with the title, “Kitten and Baby Elephant Make Friends and You Won’t Believe What Happens Next.” Because a great deal of social media content is similar photos, our unsuspecting user clicks the link. In seconds, the malicious software is downloaded and the user is truly surprised at what happens next.

With the roundup of 100+ Blackshades masterminds, are we safe to mindlessly click through our Facebook, the only consequence being remorse for life’s wasted moments? The folks over at the Malwarebytes blog say no:

To sum it up, BlackShades will continue to be around for a long time, whether it be [sic] in the form that it is currently seen or as a new variant and version. If the day comes when BlackShades falls to the wayside, other RATs which are currently available and being developed will take its place in the cybercrime arena.

The moral of the story: Update your antivirus software and supress the urge to click on every link. In fact, many links, especially those to unknown sites or attached to emails from unknown email senders should be ignored and/or deleted. Curiousity does more than kill cats these days. It infects entire enterprise networks or turns webcams on in the bedrooms of unsuspecting users.