Two people arrested after takedown of Lockbit

At least two people have been arrested in a major international police operation against a gang that took computer systems hostage with the malicious software LockBit. The arrests happened in Poland and Ukraine. A total of 34 cyber criminals’ servers have been taken down in the Netherlands, the United States, Germany, Great Britain, France, Finland, Switzerland and Australia.

The European police service Europol, based in The Hague, released the results of Operation Cronos on Tuesday. More than two hundred accounts with virtual money were frozen. Criminals use these types of accounts to collect ransom money and also to launder that money afterward.

The United States is charging two Russians for using Lockbit for an attack in their country. One of them will also be held accountable for another often-used ransomware, Sodinokibi. It is unclear whether this is about the two people who were arrested in Poland and Ukraine.

British detectives were able to take over the site. The platform had the names of the victims on it who did not pay quickly. They claimed to be based in the Netherlands on the site. The technical infrastructure behind Lockbit is also currently under police control. The data from the servers is being used to find leaders and others and persecute them.

Lockbit, which Russian hackers probably developed, came up for the first time in 2019. In a few years, it grew into the most feared criminal software in the world. The developers also allowed others to use the ransomware for a fee. Last year, users broke into China’s largest bank.

Fox-It, a security company from Delft, says that Lockbit hit dozens of Dutch companies and organizations, including the Dutch football association, the KNVB. The association allegedly paid over a million euros in ransom to stop the group from publicly sharing their members’ personal data.

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