Global police operation disrupts ransomware group LockBit with 2 arrests

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  • Global police operation disrupts ransomware group LockBit, leading to arrests of two individuals in Poland and Ukraine.
  • Authorities gain access to LockBit’s systems, seize cryptocurrency accounts, and obtain decryption tools.

Law enforcement agencies have infiltrated and disrupted LockBit, arresting two people involved with the prolific ransomware syndicate that has extracted $120 million from thousands of victims around the world. The operation, led by Britain’s National Crime Agency, resulted in the arrests of two individuals in Poland and Ukraine and the seizure of 200 cryptocurrency accounts. In addition, the Justice Department unsealed indictments against two Russian nationals. Authorities claimed to have gained comprehensive access to LockBit’s systems, taking control of infrastructure and obtaining keys to help victims decrypt their data. The operation is considered one of the most significant ransomware disruptions to date, although cybersecurity experts caution that such groups often rebrand and re-emerge under new names.

The operation aimed to steal all of LockBit’s data and destroy its infrastructure to significantly degrade the cybercrime threat. LockBit, operating since 2019, has been the most prolific ransomware syndicate for two consecutive years, accounting for a large number of attacks globally. The group was linked to attacks on high-profile organizations like the U.K.’s Royal Mail, Boeing, and China’s ICBC. The unprecedented law enforcement action is a rare offensive cyber-operation for the U.K. crime agency, signaling a major blow not only to LockBit’s operation but also to its reputation. Despite this, ransomware remains a significant cyber threat, with most gangs based in former Soviet states and out of reach of Western justice.

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