Prolific ransomware gang arrested in Ukraine

Image: Europol

A Ransomware gang, who would look for payments of up to € 70 million, has been arrested in Ukraine.

On September 28, a coordinated strike between the French National Gendarmerie, the Ukrainian National Police 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 of 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.

Europol supported the investigation from the onset, bringing together all the involved countries to establish a joint strategy. Its cybercrime specialists organised 12 coordination meetings to prepare for the action day, alongside providing analytical, malware, forensic and crypto-tracing support. A virtual command post was set up by Europol to ensure seamless coordination between all the authorities involved.


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Written by

Deirdre Tynan

Deirdre Tynan is an award-winning journalist who enjoys bringing the best in news reporting to Spain’s largest English-language newspaper, Euro Weekly News. She has previously worked at The Mirror, Ireland on Sunday and for news agencies, media outlets and international organisations in America, Europe and Asia. A huge fan of British politics and newspapers, Deirdre is equally fascinated by the political scene in Madrid and Sevilla. She moved to Spain in 2018 and is based in Jaen.

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