Security Experts:

Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

SecurityWeekSecurityWeek

Cybercrime

12 People Arrested Over Ransomware Attacks on Critical Infrastructure

Europol and Norwegian Police on Friday announced the arrests of 12 individuals suspected of being involved in ransomware attacks launched against companies around the world, including critical infrastructure organizations.

Europol and Norwegian Police on Friday announced the arrests of 12 individuals suspected of being involved in ransomware attacks launched against companies around the world, including critical infrastructure organizations.

According to Europol, the suspects played various roles in ransomware attacks that impacted more than 1,800 victims across 71 countries, including many major corporations that suffered significant disruptions due to the attacks.

The law enforcement operation targeting the 12 suspects was carried out on October 26 in Ukraine and Switzerland, and it resulted in the seizure of cash, luxury vehicles and electronic devices.

“Most of these suspects are considered high-value targets because they are being investigated in multiple high-profile cases in different jurisdictions,” Europol said.

Each of the alleged cybercriminals played a different role. Some of them were in charge of breaching an organization’s systems using brute-force attacks, SQL injections, phishing emails and stolen credentials. Others focused on lateral movement and deployment of malware such as Trickbot or post-exploitation frameworks such as PowerShell Empire and Cobalt Strike. Some of the suspects were allegedly in charge of laundering ransom payments.

The malicious hackers used various ransomware families, including LockerGoga, MegaCortex and Dharma.

Norwegian Police said one of the victims of these threat actors was Norwegian metals and energy giant Norsk Hydro, which lost tens of millions of dollars following an attack in 2019.

Just before Europol announced the arrests, the U.S. Department of Justice revealed that a Russian national who was allegedly part of a cybercrime group that used the Trickbot malware had been extradited from South Korea to the United States. This was the second Trickbot-related arrest in recent months as part of an operation conducted by the DoJ’s Ransomware and Digital Extortion Task Force.

The Trickbot suspect, 38-year-old Vladimir Dunaev, faces up to 60 years in prison for his role in the cybercrime operation.

Earlier this month, Europol announced the arrests of two alleged members of a prolific ransomware group in Ukraine. The ransomware was not named at the time due to what the police agency described as “an operational reason.”

Related: Ransomware Takedowns Underscore Need for Private-Public Cybersecurity Collaboration

Related: Ukrainian Suspected of Leading Carbanak Gang Arrested in Spain

Related: Ukraine Arrests ‘Avalanche’ Cybercrime Organizer: Police

Written By

Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.

Click to comment

Expert Insights

Related Content

Cybercrime

Zendesk is informing customers about a data breach that started with an SMS phishing campaign targeting the company’s employees.

Cybercrime

The release of OpenAI’s ChatGPT in late 2022 has demonstrated the potential of AI for both good and bad.

Malware & Threats

Microsoft plans to improve the protection of Office users by blocking XLL add-ins from the internet.

Cybercrime

Artificial intelligence is competing in another endeavor once limited to humans — creating propaganda and disinformation.

Cybercrime

Video games developer Riot Games says source code was stolen from its development environment in a ransomware attack

Cybercrime

A digital ad fraud scheme dubbed "VastFlux" spoofed over 1,700 apps and peaked at 12 billion ad requests per day before being shut down.

Cybercrime

A new study by McAfee and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) named a staggering figure as the true annual cost of...

Cybercrime

Cybercriminals earned significantly less from ransomware attacks in 2022 compared to 2021 as victims are increasingly refusing to pay ransom demands.