The ‘LuminosityLink RAT' author pleaded guilty to creating and distributing the infamous malware used by thousands of threat actors to gain unauthorized access to tens of thousands of computers across 78 countries worldwide.
Federal prosecutors accused 21-year-old Colton Ray Grubbs of Stanford, Ky. of conspiring with others to market and distribute the malware for $40 as an affordable hacking option to more than 8,600 customers, according to Europol.
Grubbs began selling the malware in May 2015 under the pseudonym “KFC Watermelon” and had amassed its immense customer base by mid-2017 when speculations of his arrest began surfacing when that handle stopped responding to customer support queries on the hacking forum where his product was sold, according to court documents.
Initially Grubbs plead not guilty to his computer intrusion charges, arguing that he wasn't responsible for how customers used his products until prosecutors presented Skype logs of one of his associates routinely instructing users on how to use the malware to compromise remote computers.
In the plea deal, Grubbs admitted to conspiring to make and sell LuminosityLink, and to knowingly assisting customers in using his software to break into computers and is facing up to 25 years in prison and as much as $750,000 in fines.