Ukrainian authorities arrest ransomware operators


Two ransomware operators were apprehended in Ukraine after extorting victims with ransom demands ranging from €5 to €70 million, thanks to a joint international law enforcement operation.


The FBI, the French police (Gendarmerie Nationale), and the Ukrainian National Police collaborated on the operation. Seven property searches were conducted, resulting in the seizure of $375,000 in cash and two luxury vehicles valued at around $250,000. Investigators also froze $1.3 million in cryptocurrency, which they believe is linked to ransom payments.


The individuals were members of a top-tier group whose name could not be published owing to operational concerns, according to Europol and Ukrainian police.


Both suspects apprehended in Kyiv City belonged to the same cell that not only carried out ransom attacks but also laundered illegal funds.


Starting in April 2020, law enforcement authorities attribute about a hundred cyberattacks to the gang, which targeted North American and European companies. A typical network breach, malware deployment, data exfiltration, and eventually the encryption of all local files is all part of the plan.


The victim’s VPN tool or emails to employees that dump payloads on their machines are the first instances of compromise.


The total damages to the affected organizations are anticipated to be in the region of $150 million.


These arrests are unlikely to bring a Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) enterprise to a halt. However, law enforcement is increasingly targeting individual members as a means of disrupting criminal activities.


The arrested individuals could face up to twelve years in prison, according to a statement from Ukraine’s cyber-police, for violating two provisions of the country’s criminal code, one for illegal interference with computer networks and systems and the other for money laundering.


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