Two ‘prolific’ ransomware operators arrested in Ukraine, Europol announces

The FBI and police in France and Ukraine collaborated the raid, which resulted in the seizure of $375,000 in money and 2 high-end automobiles, and the freezing of $1.3 million in cryptocurrencies, according to Europol.

The arrests are a noteworthy win for United States police, which has actually attempted to step up its pressure on cybercriminals based in Eastern Europe and Russia following a series of ransomware attacks that have actually cost United States business countless dollars.

Europol explained the 2 suspects as “prolific,” having actually required in between €5 and €70 million ($5.8 million and $81.3 million) from victims. However a representative for the EU’s police arm decreased to recognize the 2 individuals or what kind of ransomware they apparently utilized, pointing out legal factors and a continuous examination.

“The organized 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,” Europol spokesperson Claire Georges said.

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Four FBI personnel were in Ukraine to help coordinate the raid, according to the Europol statement. The FBI did not respond to a request for comment.

Mark Arena, CEO of cybersecurity firm Intel 471, said he believed the 2 individuals arrested were “affiliates,” rather than “core operators,” of a well-known ransomware service.

“A number of actors use or have used multiple ransomware services, hence we caution against any linking of this action to a single specific ransomware service,” Arena told CNN.

John Fokker, a former cybercrime investigator with the Dutch police, stated that it often takes years for law enforcement agencies to “build a solid case” against ransomware gangs, which publicly boast about their victims but operate in the shadows. In this case, Europol stated investigators held a dozen meetings in preparation for the raid.

“Ukraine has proven to be willing and committed to arrest ransomware criminals within its borders — something which has been a bigger challenge with Russia,” Fokker, who is now head of cyber investigations at McAfee Enterprise, informed CNN.

President Joe Biden in June urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to crack down on cybercriminals operating from Russian soil, however United States authorities have actually been doubtful of Moscow’s desire to do so.

The White Home prepares later on this month to assemble a 30-country conference to increase worldwide efforts to resolve the hazard of ransomware, as CNN initially reported.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.