PanamaTimes

Thursday, Apr 18, 2024

Global Law Enforcement Dismantles Lockbit Ransomware Operation

Authorities from the UK's National Crime Agency (NCA) and the FBI have led a successful international crackdown on the Lockbit cybercrime group, resulting in the arrest and indictment of its members.
This significant strike against a notorious cyber gang involved charges against two Russians for deploying Lockbit ransomware globally, with arrests made in Poland and Ukraine.

In a coordinated effort, the NCA joined forces with the US Department of Justice, FBI, and Europol in London to announce the disruption of Lockbit, which has impacted over 2,000 victims worldwide and extorted more than $120 million in ransoms, according to the DOJ.

Law enforcement agencies have taken over Lockbit's operational websites and even utilized the group's own site to leak details about its members. Graeme Biggar, head of the NCA, highlighted the unprecedented access gained to Lockbit's systems, seizing their source code and decryption keys to aid victims.

Dubbed "Operation Cronos," this international effort united ten countries to take legal action against the cybercriminals, leaving Lockbit effectively incapacitated.

Two individuals, Artur Sungatov and Ivan Kondratyev (alias Bassterlord), face indictment in New Jersey for using Lockbit to attack entities in various sectors and countries. Additional charges against Kondratyev relate to a 2020 ransomware attack in California. The US Treasury has also sanctioned both men.

Lockbit's ransomware has been responsible for significant losses, crippling companies with encryption attacks and demanding cryptocurrency ransoms through its affiliates. The Operation Cronos initiative seized 34 servers and dismantled 14,000 illicit accounts tied to Lockbit's activities.

Prior to its downfall, Lockbit's website showcased a gallery of victims with deadlines for ransom payments. Recently, the site has been repurposed by the NCA, FBI, and Europol to expose Lockbit's internal data and foreshadow further sanctions against its leaders.
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