Ukrainian police authorities have nabbed five members of a gang that’s believed to have helped orchestrate attacks against more than 50 companies across Europe and the U.S and caused losses to the tune of more than $1 million.
The special operation, which was carried out in assistance with law enforcement officials from the U.K. and U.S., saw the arrest of an unnamed 36-year-old individual from the capital city of Kyiv, along with his wife and three other accomplices.
Nine searches were conducted in each suspect’s home, which resulted in seizure computer equipment, cell phones, flash drives and bank cards as well as evidence of criminal activity.
The Cyber Police of the National Police of Ukraine said the group offered a “hacker service” that enabled financially motivated crime syndicates to send phishing emails containing file-encrypted malware to lock confidential data pertaining to its victims, demanding that the targets pay cryptocurrency ransoms in return for restoring access to the files.
However, it’s not immediately clear what ransomware strain the perpetrators used to encrypt data on victim computers.
In addition to ransomware attacks against foreign businesses, the hacking cartel provided IP-addressspoofing services for transnational cybercrime actors. They illegally used the platform in order to breach into systems owned by government entities and collect sensitive information to launch DDoS attacks that paralyze networks.
“To launder criminal proceeds, the offenders conducted complex financial transactions using a number of online services, including those banned in Ukraine,” the Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) said. They transferred money to payment cards belonging to a large network of fake people at the final stage of turning assets into cash. “
The development is the latest in a string of law enforcement actions undertaken by Ukraine over the past year to tackle the menace of ransomware that’s crippled organizations and critical infrastructure alike.
Last month, authorities apprehended 51 people in connection with illegally possessing about 100 databases containing personal information of more than 300 million citizens of Ukraine, Europe, and the U.S.
Prior that, the National Police of Ukraine also participated in the arrest of ransomware associates with Egregor and Cl0p LockerGoga and MegaCortex families, as well as individuals found operating a DDoS Botnet and phishing service named U-Admin.
Then in October 2021, the SSU partnered with the U.S. intelligence agencies to detain several members of a money laundering operation that engaged with various hacking groups who carried out cyber theft activities and wanted to convert the stolen virtual funds into cash.
A month later, the cyber department also dismantled a five-member hacking group dubbed Phoenix that specialized in remote hacking of mobile devices for over two years with the goal of stealing personal data, which was then sold to other third-parties for an average cost of $200 per account.