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European-led crackdown on 'BlackShades' malware

AMSTERDAM (AP) -- European law enforcement agencies say they have helped coordinate raids in 16 countries that led to 97 arrests of people suspected of developing, distributing or using criminal software known as “BlackShades.”

The malware allows users to gain control of targets' computers and record personal information, including intercepting keystrokes and hijacking webcams to record their owners secretly. It also enables users to encrypt the information on target computers and then demand a ransom in exchange for releasing it.

Coordination agencies Europol and Eurojust, based in The Hague, Netherlands, said Monday national police in the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany, Britain, Finland, Austria, Estonia, Denmark, Italy, Croatia, the United States, Canada, Chile, Switzerland and Moldova carried out 359 raids in all.

Police seized cash, firearms, drugs and more than 1,000 data storage devices.

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