Monday, April 15, 2024

World’s most prolific cyber crime group dismantled « Euro Weekly News

Successful NCA-led operation blow to cybercriminals.
Credit: nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk

An announcement today has revealed how a an international investigation has disrupted the world’s most harmful cyber crime group.

On Tuesday, February 20, the UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) declared a significant victory against LockBit, labelled as the most destructive cyber crime syndicate in the world.

Operation details revealed

The NCA, in a covert operation, infiltrated and commandeered LockBit’s operations. This strategic move has neutralised their cyber criminal network entirely. LockBit, known for its ransomware attacks over the past four years, has victimised thousands internationally, inflicting financial damages in the billions of pounds, dollars, and euros.

Disrupting cyber crime

This disruption targeted LockBit’s ransomware services, a scheme offering malicious tools for global hackers. When LockBit infected a system, it encrypted data and demanded ransom in cryptocurrency, threatening to leak the information online. The NCA’s seizure of LockBit’s administrative environment and leak site marks a significant blow to their operations.

The NCA now plans to use the seized dark web site to expose LockBit’s operations. They’ve also gained access to the group’s source code and detailed intelligence on their activities. This operation, named Operation Cronos, involved close collaboration with the FBI and international partners from nine other countries.

Justice in action

In a coordinated effort with Europol, arrests were made in Poland and Ukraine, with over 200 cryptocurrency accounts frozen. The US Department of Justice has charged two individuals with crimes related to LockBit ransomware attacks, highlighting the global commitment to dismantling cyber crime networks.

‘Our work does not stop here. LockBit may seek to rebuild their criminal enterprise. However, we know who they are, and how they operate.

‘We are tenacious and we will not stop in our efforts to target this group and anyone associated with them,’ said National Crime Agency Director General, Graeme Biggar.

Home Secretary James Cleverly commended the NCA’s expertise: ‘The National Crime Agency’s world leading expertise has delivered a major blow to the people behind the most prolific ransomware strain in the world.’

The NCA encourages public cooperation, urging organisations to report ransomware attacks promptly. This collaborative approach enhances the ability to counteract and prevent further damage by cyber criminals.

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