CRTC issues $115,000 in penalties to stop the spread of malicious software

News release

December 10, 2019 – Ottawa-Gatineau – Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)

The CRTC’s Chief Compliance and Enforcement Officer today issued a penalty of $100,000 to John Paul Revesz and Vincent Leo Griebel, partners operating under the business name Orcus Technologies, for developing, selling and promoting malware.

An additional penalty of $15,000 was issued to John Paul Revesz for operating a secure dynamic domain name service that was allegedly used by hackers to communicate with a variety of infected machines.

The investigation found that Orcus Technologies marketed and sold a Remote Administration Tool under the name Orcus RAT. The investigation concluded that this tool was in fact malware, a Remote Access Trojan that enabled hackers to install the program and take full control of a victim’s computer without their consent or knowledge.  By marketing and offering these products and services, Messrs. Revesz and Griebel aided in the commission of numerous violations of Canada’s anti-spam legislation.

Quotes

“We are pursuing our efforts to intervene in online threats that compromise Canadians’ personal information and disrupt their online activities. By working closely with our partners, we were able to take down this cyber threat. I’d like to thank the RCMP National Division and the threat researchers at Palo Alto Networks for their collaboration and assistance.”

- Steven Harroun, Chief Compliance and Enforcement Officer, CRTC

Quick facts

  • The CRTC’s Chief Compliance and Enforcement Officer issues Notices of Violation (NoV) and penalties based on allegations of violations. Alleged violators have 30 days to pay the penalty or challenge the NoVs and penalties before the Commission.

  • Remote Administrative Tools (RATs) are a particularly dangerous type of malware that allows an individual to install and take full administrative control of another person’s system through a remote network connection without their consent or knowledge.

  • It is estimated that Orcus RAT malware has infected thousands of computers worldwide.

  • To protect their devices and networks, Canadians should ensure they are using the latest supported versions, applying security patches promptly, using antivirus and scanning regularly to guard against known malware threats.

  • The CRTC collaborated closely with domestic and international partners – including investigators within the RCMP, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Australian Federal Police (AFP) – to successfully conclude this case. The cybersecurity company Palo Alto Networks provided critical information to assist the CRTC in its investigation.

  • In March, 2019, the CRTC executed a warrant under Canada's anti-spam legislation (CASL) and the RCMP National Division executed a search warrant under the Criminal Code respectively.

  • The CRTC’s CASL enforcement program prioritizes investigations of malware and other malicious online activity, as these activities present a direct threat to Canadians and their trust in the digital economy.

  • The RCMP National Division Cybercrime Investigative Team recently laid charges under the Criminal Code against John Paul Revesz.

  • The CRTC is committed to working with partners in the public and private sectors to enhance information sharing, improve target identification and coordinate operational responses.

  • Information collected by the Spam Reporting Centre is used by the CRTC, the Competition Bureau and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner to enforce CASL.

  • Canadians and private entities are encouraged to report spam, malware and other electronic threats to the Spam Reporting Centre.

  • To protect your devices against online threats, consult the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security.

  • CASL protects Canadians from online threats while ensuring businesses can continue to compete in the global digital marketplace.

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