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Ransomware gang arrested in Ukraine

Christian Fernsby |
Ransomware gang was arrested in Ukraine with Europol’s support.

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On 28 September, a coordinated strike between the French National Gendarmerie (Gendarmerie Nationale), the Ukrainian National Police (Національна поліція України) and the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), with the coordination of Europol and INTERPOL, has led to the arrest in Ukraine of two prolific ransomware operators known for their extortionate ransom demands (between €5 to €70 million).

The organised crime group is suspected of having committed a string of targeted attacks against very large industrial groups in Europe and North America from April 2020 onwards. The criminals would deploy malware and steal sensitive data from these companies, before encrypting their files.

They would then proceed to offer a decryption key in return for a ransom payment of several millions of euros, threatening to leak the stolen data on the dark web should their demands not be met.

Close cooperation between the involved law enforcement authorities, supported by Europol’s Joint Cybercrime Action Taskforce (J-CAT), led to the identification in Ukraine of these two individuals.

Six investigators from the French Gendarmerie, four from the US FBI, a prosecutor from the French Prosecution Office of Paris, two specialists from Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) and one INTERPOL officer were deployed to Ukraine to jointly conduct investigative measures with the National Police.

Results of the action day:

• 2 arrests and 7 property searches
• Seizure of US$ 375 000 in cash
• Seizure of two luxury vehicles worth €217 000
• Asset freezing of $1.3 million in cryptocurrencies

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