Image: Ukraine Cyber Police
Hacking. Disinformation. Surveillance. CYBER is Motherboard’s podcast and reporting on the dark underbelly of the internet.
Police in Ukraine arrested two people suspected of being part of an unnamed ransomware gang, according to police announcements on Monday.
The arrests were conducted on September 28 in a joint operation between French National Gendarmerie (Gendarmerie Nationale), the Ukrainian National Police and the FBI, with the coordination of Europol and INTERPOL. The two suspects were “two prolific ransomware operators known for their extortionate ransom demands (between €5 to €70 million),” according to Europol.
Europol did not name the ransomware group that the two were allegedly a part of. In a tweet, Europol spokesperson Claire Georges said that “If the info is not included in our press release, there’s a(n operational) reason why…believe me, every word in our PRs is carefully chosen/negotiated!”
In its press release, Europol said that other than the arrests, the raid resulted in the seizure of $375,000 in cash, two unspecified luxury vehicles worth 217,000 euros, and the freezing of $1.3 million in cryptocurrencies.
Do you have any information about this raid or the ransomware group targeted? We’d love to hear from you. You can contact Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai securely on Signal at +1 917 257 1382, Wire/Wickr @lorenzofb, or email email@example.com.
Also, judging from a video of the raid, cops also seized a pretty sleek-looking gaming PC connected to podcast or streaming-grade microphones and headphones. The video also shows what appear to be some pouches of Capri Sun on top of the PC.
“I fear there is not much more I can say on these two arrests specifically. Investigators are now working on the evidence seized during the house searches (the Capri Sun aside) and we hope there will be more to come,” Georges said in an email to Motherboard.
Ukraine’s Cyber Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“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,” Europol wrote. “A virtual command post was set up by Europol to ensure seamless coordination between all the authorities involved.”
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