Global Law Enforcement Agencies Take Down Most Notorious Ransomware Gang To Date

People work at computers during the 10th International Cybersecurity Forum in Lille on January 23, 2018. (Photo by Philippe HUGUEN / AFP) (Photo by PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP via Getty Images)

OAN’s James Meyers
11:07 AM – Tuesday, February 20, 2024

A combined global effort from international law enforcement agencies has disrupted one of the most destructive strains of ransomware in history. 


Agencies from the United States, United Kingdom and 12 other countries took apart Lockbit’s infrastructure and replaced its dark web site with a list of agency press releases and resources for victims. 

Lockbit is ransomware that cyber criminals frequently use to attack American hospitals and schools. 

The takedown of Lockbit is considered one of the largest cybercrime takedowns to date. 

Brett Leatherman, deputy assistant director of the FBI Cyber Division, said in a press conference on Tuesday that the historic takedown was “several years in the making.”

The takedown was called “Operation Cronos,” and law enforcement agencies arrested two LockBit members in Poland and Ukraine, destroyed 34 data servers and froze over 200 cryptocurrency accounts, according to Europol

Additionally, four of those servers were in the U.S., according to Leatherman.

Meanwhile, the announcement comes after authorities already replaced LockBit’s dark-web leak site, which the hacking group publicly lists its victims who have not paid their ransom fee to unlock their systems. 

“We’ll continue gathering evidence, building out our map of LockBit developers, administrators, and affiliates, and using that knowledge to drive arrests, seizures, and other operations, whether by the FBI or our partners here and abroad,” Leatherman said on the investigation.

Furthermore, law enforcement has created a decryption tool that victims of LockBit can use to unlock their systems without paying a ransom. The tool is available in 37 languages and has helped over 6 million people globally, Europol said.

Ransomware has become a major problem across the world, with victims sending their attackers a record $1 billion last year. 

However, ransomware gangs are known for being able to rebuild and rebrand after being caught by law enforcement.

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