Gang behind ‘world’s biggest’ ransomware taken down: Europol

February 21, 2024, 2:30 pm

ROME – After a month-long operation, authorities from 10 countries disrupted the “world’s biggest” ransomware criminal operation behind LockBit, causing damages worth billions of dollars, Europol said Tuesday.

In a statement, Europol said authorities took down LockBit’s 34 servers in the Netherlands, Germany, Finland, France, Switzerland, Australia, the United States and United Kingdom, and at the request of the French judicial authorities arrested two alleged “LockBit actors” in Poland and Ukraine .

Three international arrest warrants and five indictments have also been issued by the French and US judicial authorities.

The international sweep also included the freezing of more than 200 cryptocurrency accounts linked to the alleged criminal organization.

“This investigation shows that law enforcement has the capabilities to disrupt high harm cybercriminals and reduce the ransomware threat,” Europol said.

“However, continued victim and private sector engagement is key to us continuing this work,” it said.

The international operation followed a complex investigation led by the UK National Crime Agency in the framework of an international task force known as Operation Cronos, coordinated at the European level by Europol and Eurojust.

The UK's National Crime Agency has now taken control of the technical infrastructure that allows all elements of the LockBit service to operate, as well as their leak site on the dark web, on which they previously hosted the data stolen from victims in ransomware attacks, Europol added. (Anadolu)