BlackShades owner pleads not guilty, could be jailed for 15 years

The mastermind behind the BlackShades malware has entered a plea of not guilty as he faces the prospect of up to 15 years in jail, following his extradition to the US.

Alex Yucel, the owner and operator of BlackShades, has been charged with conspiring to commit access device fraud and other charges to boot, according to a report from TweakTown.

BlackShades was the target of a major operation carried out by authorities in unison across the globe, as we reported last week, and it ended in around a hundred people being arrested in over a dozen countries (including a number of European nations, and the UK where 17 individuals had their collars felt).

BlackShades is actually a RAT (Remote Access Trojan) that gives the malware author the ability to access the host machine via a backdoor – obviously an extremely serious breach of a machine's security. Once in, the malware author can access files, snoop on passwords (via keylogging), and indeed snoop via a webcam (Miss Teen USA was a high-profile victim of the latter intrusion last year).

The malware is thought to have infected around half a million computers worldwide – and part of its popularity was that it was peddled cheaply, with miscreants reportedly able to pick the software up for around $40 (£24).