April 13, 2024

Lockbit Finally Disrupted By A Joint Venture of US, EU, and Britain

In a rare international collaboration, Britain’s National Crime Agency, Europol, the FBI, and a group of international police agencies (from France, Japan, Canada, etc) have finally managed to nab the notorious cybercrime gang Lockbit. The group was known for holding the victim’s data for ransom.

The news first came to light on Monday through a message displayed on the gang’s extortion website. It read “This site is now under the control of the National Crime Agency of the UK, working in close cooperation with the FBI and the international law enforcement task force ‘Operation Cronos’,”

The message asked the visitors to come back for more information at 11.30 GMT on Tuesday 20 Feb.

The news was further confirmed by an NCA spokesperson who said that they did manage to disrupt the gang’s website but the operation is still going on. This might mean that they are planning to catch the criminals running the gang.

However, the US Department of Justice and the FBI did not make any comment as of yet.

Similarly, no representatives of the gang were available for any comment. However one of them left messages on an encrypted messaging platform stating that Lockbit has backup servers that were not affected by the operation.

About Lockbit 

The gang was first discovered in 2020 when one of its malicious software was found on Russian-language cybercrime forums. This led some security experts to believe that the gang might be based in Russia and maybe even backed by it.

However, the gang has neither supported any country nor been linked to any government by other countries. So there’s no solid evidence whether it’s independent or backed by a superior power.

In the United States alone, the ransomware gang has attacked more than 1,700 organizations across all industries.

But there’s a message on the gang’s website that says that they are based in the Netherlands and are only working for money. They do not support any government or country.

Lockbit has been identified as one of the biggest threats in the cyber industry. Chief security strategist at Analyst1 Jon DiMaggio even went on to say that Lockbit is the “Walmart of ransomware groups” since they run the group like a business.

What makes them so much more dangerous is that they don’t operate alone. They have recruited a string of affiliates who work with them to launch attacks and together they have stolen the data of some of the biggest organizations in the world.

The hackers behind the gang are so cunning, that they even managed to break into Boeing (one of the biggest aerospace and defense contractors) and steal their data. And when they refused to pay the ransom, the group published the stolen data online.

US Officials have labeled it “the biggest ransomware crew today” and considering it owned 25% of the cybercrime market, the officials are quite right.

Its terror was growing day by day, to the extent that every day the list of organizations it has on the website kept increasing. But that was until Monday before Operation Cronos took over.

Usually, the hackers put a countdown next to the names of their victims, showing how much time they have left to pay the ransom.

On Monday, there was a similar countdown except it was from the government agencies that took over the site.

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