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Ukraine arrests ransomware gang in global cybercriminal crackdown

Ukraine arrests ransomware gang in global cybercriminal crackdown

Enlarge / A Colonial Pipeline facility in Woodbridge, New Jersey. Hackers last month disrupted the pipeline supplying much of the east coast with oil.

Ukraine arrests ransomware gang

Ukrainian police have arrested members of a notorious ransomware gang that recently targeted U.S. universities, as pressure mounts on global law enforcement to crack down on cybercriminals.

Ukraine’s National Police said in a statement on Wednesday that they had worked with Interpol and US and South Korean authorities to indict six members of the Ukraine-based Cl0p hacker group, which they said inflicted half a billion dollars in damages to victims. based in the United States and South Korea.

The move marks the first time that a national law enforcement agency has made mass arrests of a ransomware gang, increasing pressure on other countries to follow suit. Russia, the hub of ransomware gangs, has been accused of harboring cybercriminals by failing to prosecute or extradite them.

Cl0P is one of several ransomware cartels that seize data from a target, demanding a ransom to free it. The group has also increasingly threatened to release sensitive information online if a target refuses to pay, a tactic known as “double extortion.”

Recent targets include the Shell oil company and international law firm Jones Day, as well as several US universities, including Stanford and the University of California. In most cases, hackers have used a vulnerability in a file transfer product managed by Accellion to compromise their victims.

The arrests come as ransomware has been in the spotlight in recent weeks, following a number of bold attacks on critical infrastructure. Last month, hackers disrupted the colonial pipeline supplying oil to much of the US east coast, an attack the White House attributed to a Russian-based group.

As a result, governments are under increasing pressure to curb the activities of cybercriminals. This week, US President Joe Biden attended a summit in Geneva with Russian President Vladimir Putin, where the two sides were to discuss the threat of ransomware.

Some experts claim that Moscow allows ransomware criminals to operate with impunity in the country, with the understanding that hackers will not target Russian-speaking organizations and will share access with the government if asked to do so. Ahead of the summit, however, Putin and Biden suggested they were open to trading cybercriminals.

As part of their withdrawal from Cl0P, Ukrainian police said on Wednesday that they had carried out 21 searches in the Kiev region of the homes and cars of those arrested, seizing computer equipment, 5 million Ukrainian hryvnias (approximately $ 185,000) and goods. Video footage shared by police showed officers raiding homes in what appeared to be wealthy neighborhoods and towing luxury cars, including Tesla’s.

Police also said they had “successfully shut down” part of the group’s digital infrastructure.

It is not clear whether those arrested were key members of the group or affiliates. The defendants face eight years in prison, the statement said.

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Ukraine arrests ransomware gang

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