Friday, December 27, 2019

CRTC Fines Company Behind Orcus Malware

 I find this report, curious. It leaves me with more questions about what was going on? Who were the targets? Why three years passed from complaint to this minuscule CRTC fine? Despite the RCMP, FBI and Australian Law Enforcement being involved. 

"Canada's broadcasting agency has fined a company with 115,000 Canadian dollars (roughly 87,000 US dollars) for selling malware.
The fine was imposed by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) on Orcus Technologies, a company that sold a remote access trojan (RAT) named Orcus.
According to an investigation carried out by the CRTC, together with the help of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) cybercrime division, the company was founded in March 2016 by a Toronto-based man named John Paul Revesz (a.k.a. Ciriis McGraw, Armada, Angelis, among other aliases) and a German man named Vincent Leo Griebel (a.k.a. Sorzus).
Griebel developed the malware, and Revesz provided marketing, sales, and support for the software.
Online, the duo claimed to provide a Remote Administration Tool, similar to TeamViewer and other remote management apps.
"Evidence obtained in the course of the investigation allowed the Chief Compliance and Enforcement Officer (CCEO) to conclude that the Orcus RAT was not the typical administration tool Griebel and Revesz claimed, but was, in fact, a Remote Access Trojan (RAT), a known type of malware," the CRTC said last week.
The CRTC said the duo sold and aided malicious actors to install the Orcus RAT without consent on other people's computers.
Furthermore, the duo also ran a Dynamic Domain Name Server (DDNS) service that helped the malware to communicate with infected hosts without revealing the hacker's real IP address.

Criminal investigation also underway

The CRTC fine is just one part of the investigation currently underway in Canada, and most likely the least severe. The RCMP filed criminal charges against Revesz last month, in November.
The RCMP said they started an investigation and have been tracking Orcus Technologies since July 2016, when the Orcus RAT started popping up on the radar of cyber-security experts.
This reporter was the first to publish an article about the malware in July 2016, when the Orcus team began advertising the malware on a hacking forum, and Orcus began being distributed via malspam (malicious email spam) campaigns.
Following the article, Revesz defended the Orcus RAT on Twitter, claiming his tool was a mere remote management app, contrary to all the available evidence.
Revesz's absurd arguments, the use of a pseudonym (Armada), a penchant for advertising on hacking forums, and a lackadaisical approach to dealing with abuse reports didn't win him any fans or leniency in the cyber-security industry.
As a result of these Twitter feuds, several cyber-security experts and companies filed complaints with Canadian authorities. Revesz also didn't get to keep his anonymity. Ten days later, investigative reporter Brian Krebs tracked down Armada (Revesz) and revealed his real name and location to the broader world.
A report from cyber-security firm Palo Alto Networks followed a month later, with a conclusion firmly classifying Orcus as malware, rather than a legitimate app, putting an end to Revesz's arguments for a legitimate business. We cite:
"The individuals behind Orcus are selling the RAT by advertising it as a 'Remote Administration Tool' under a supposedly registered business and claiming that this tool is only designed for legitimate business use. However, looking at the feature capabilities, architecture of the tool, and the publishing and selling of the tool in hacker forums, it is clear that Orcus is a malicious tool, and that its target customer is cyber criminals."
The 2016 complaints against Orcus Technologies, and its tool, resulted in the RCMP opening an investigation. The CRTC, the FBI, and Australia's Federal Police joined in the following years."
3 years passes before the execute a search warrant? In Canada and Australia?
"In March 2019, the RCMP executed a warrant at Rivesz's residence, while Australian police executed separate warrants across Australia, supposedly targeting Orcus RAT buyers.
 In an NoV [Notice of Violation], the CRTC said that they've "obtained a list of Orcus RAT purchasers based in Canada and abroad," which they and other investigators plan to pursue further.
While Revesz and his German co-conspirator created the Orcus RAT, the malware's buyers are just as guilty as the two, they being the ones who actually infected victims.
Across the years, cyber-security firms have reported seeing Orcus deployed on the networks of large companies, to aid with data theft, or against regular users, as a form of spyware and stalkerware.
Being a RAT, Orcus provided full access and control over an infected host. Features included:
  • Gaining administrative privileges;
  • Recording keystrokes;
  • Extracting passwords from other apps;
  • Activating the webcam and microphone without notification;
  • Installing other apps;
  • Hiding the malware's presence on a system, and more."


  1. This is just one reason I dont trust the LNA and remain confused by Russia's support of it. These Sudanese mercenaries openly state they want to return and overthrow the government of Sudan later. Who's paying all the salaries ? Who pays the Wagner group mercs, Who pays for Russian supplied weapons ? This whole setup stinks to me.

    " The Sudanese mercenary commanders said the new wave of recruits included many who had fought against the rule of Omar al-Bashir, who was deposed in April when Sudan’s military withdrew their support after months of popular protests.

    One said that many had been recruited in Darfur in recent months while others had travelled from there to Libya to enlist.

    All the commanders interviewed said they hoped to return to Sudan to fight against the current transitional government, installed after al-Bashir’s fall.

    “I know that we are mercenaries and we are not fighting with honour and dignity …. but this is temporary, we will go back home after we are done with our mission here,” one said.

    Another commander said that fighting as mercenaries in Libya was the only way to obtain resources necessary to fight the Sudanese state in the future. "

    1. Hey Mieszko I:

      "This is just one reason I dont trust the LNA and remain confused by Russia's support of it."

      I don't trust the LNA either BUT am uncertain about claims Russia is supporting them... in other words I've not seen any convincing information- just claims or rumours

      It would be contrary to Russia's usual policies to not support the internationally recognized government of a nation.

      If you have any verified/verifiable information about Russia supporting the LNA I'd like to see it?

  2. Meanwhile the US is openly making military preparations for war against Russia and possibly China. The fog of war indeed.

    " US Defense Secretary Mark Esper is interested in seeing a substantial reduction in troops and operations ongoing in Western Africa, with the troops being redeployed to areas closer to Russia and China. "

    " After West Africa, the plan is that the US will also draw down forces in Latin America, and subsequently then cut troop levels in Iraq and Afghanistan, all as part of a new pivot to Eastern Europe and the Pacific "

    1. Mieszko I: I hope to be writing about the eastern mediterranean situation in the very near future

      There will be no pullout from Africa..

      "weighing proposals for a major reduction"

      Any official troop withdrawal can be filled via the private mercenary market- Africa is the battle front up and coming- there is ZERO way the US is going to walk away

    2. " there is ZERO way the US is going to walk away "

      Very true, but, the combat in Africa can be waged by Merc forces from both sides, supported by various African militaries. However, it looks like the front line combat troops are being re-positioned around Russia.

    3. Hi Mieszko I

      I stated directly above "Any official troop withdrawal can be filled via the private mercenary market-"

      So we do agree on that fact, yes.

  3. The Zios move closer to the Bosphorus Strait, Russia, and Turkey. Lovely timing.

    " The bill on the ratification of the accord was signed on 23 December and bought before parliament on Christmas Eve. If ratified, the agreement will expand the US Naval Support Activity Souda Bay base, located on the island of Crete, and essentially allow the US military to use all Greek military facilities "

    1. that's interesting and I'd written here some time ago that moves like this would be coming- i'll check the link