A cyber criminal has admitted running a product-testing service for hackers following a joint investigation by the National Crime Agency (NCA) and cyber security firm Trend Micro.
Goncalo Esteves, 24, of Cape Close, Colchester, Essex, ran the website reFUD.me, which allowed offenders to test, for a fee, whether their malicious cyber tools could beat anti-virus scanners.
Under the pseudonym KillaMuvz, he also sold custom-made malware-disguising products and offered technical support to users.
He pleaded guilty to two computer misuse offences and a count of money laundering at Blackfriars Crown Court.
Esteves called his encryption tools Cryptex Reborn and Cryptex Lite. Part of a family of cyber tools known as crypters, they could be used by hackers to improve their chances of dodging anti-virus.
He sold them for use in packages which varied in price according to the length of the licence.
A month of Cryptex Lite cost $7.99 ( about £5 at time of offending) while a lifetime licence for Cryptex Reborn cost $90 (about £60 at time of offending). Esteves provided customer support via a dedicated Skype account and accepted payment either in conventional currency, in the cryptocurrency Bitcoin or in Amazon vouchers.
Esteves advertised his website on the hackforums.net website, a well-known message-board for cyber criminals, under the description: “A free service that offers fast and reliable file scanning to ensure that your files remain fully undetectable to anti-malware