Published: January 01, 2022 on our newsletter Security Fraud News & Alerts Newsletter.
By now we know that in the world of cybercrime, good news is hard to come by. But thanks to the tandem efforts of several law enforcement agencies in different countries, two suspected ransomware threat actors are now calling a Ukraine Crowbar Hotel their home. It’s a rare occasion for this type of good news, so chalk one up for the good guys and don’t forget to smile.
Although the name of the ransomware gang the two were part of has yet to be released, authorities believe one of the two suspects is a top member of the unnamed cybercrime outfit. Ukraine officials believe he was responsible for over $150 million in damages from attacks on over 100 foreign entities in Europe and North America. The Ukraine Cyberpolice reports the targeted sectors include tourism, energy, and equipment developers.
What the takedown found
The FBI, Europol, Interpol, the Ukraine National Police and the French National Gendarmerie came together to make the arrests happen. The joint effort searched seven properties linked to the one defendant, including the homes of his relatives. During the takedown, authorities seized computer equipment, $375,000 in cash, over 200,000 in euros (over $230,000 US) worth of luxury vehicles, and perhaps the best part: $1.3 million in cryptocurrency, the preferred currency of ransom demands, was frozen.
Europol learned these ransomware creeps threatened double extortion tactics on victims as additional pressure to pay the ransom demand. It’s been a growing trend among some ransomware gangs to not only encrypt a victim’s data for a ransom, but they also threaten to leak sensitive or embarrassing victim data as a double-threat reason to pay up.
So, if you feel inclined, make a toast to those international agencies who made sure these two cybercriminals are where they belong. Making the world a little safer from ransomware thieves is always a great reason to smile. Just remember that this doesn’t mean cybercrime by these or other cybercriminals is going away. In fact, look for a new leader, additional “gang” members, or a cybercrime gang that evolves to steal another day.
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