News Report Technology
February 20, 2024

UK National Crime Agency Arrests LockBit Cybercrime Network Hackers, Plans to Assist Victims

In Brief

The UK NCA has arrested members of cybercrime group LockBit, gaining control of its network and primary tools used for cyber attacks.

UK National Crime Agency Dismantles LockBit Cybercrime Network, Makes Arrests, and Plans to Assist Victims

United Kingdom National Crime Agency (NCA) announced that it had taken control of the cybercrime group LockBit, considered one of the most harmful globally. Through successfully infiltrating the group’s network, the NCA has effectively disrupted LockBit’s entire criminal operations and gained control over the primary tools LockBit uses for planning and executing cyber attacks.

Furthermore, NCA has gained control of LockBit’s primary administrative environment; a platform affiliates utilize to plan and execute attacks, and the group’s public-facing leak site on the dark web, where they previously hosted and threatened to publish stolen data from victims. The agency also acquired the source code of the LockBit platform, along with extensive intelligence gathered from their systems, including details about the group’s activities and insights into individuals who collaborated with them and availed their services to inflict harm on organizations globally.

Notably, some of the data on LockBit’s systems belonged to victims who had paid a ransom to the threat actors, indicating that the ransom payment does not ensure the deletion of data, contrary to the assurances made by the criminals.

Subsequently, two defendants responsible for utilizing LockBit to conduct ransomware attacks have been criminally charged and detained, and they will face trial in the United Kingdom.

Operation Cronos Dismantles LockBit, Paving the Way for Victim Assistance

The NCA, collaborating closely with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and supported by international partners from nine other countries, has conducted a covert investigation into LockBit as part of a dedicated task force known as “Operation Cronos”.

The technical infiltration and disruption are the initial steps in a series of actions against LockBit and its affiliates. In a broader coordinated effort led by Europol, two LockBit actors were arrested this morning in Poland and Ukraine, and over 200 cryptocurrency accounts associated with the group have been frozen.

The United States Department of Justice also disclosed that two defendants responsible for employing LockBit in ransomware attacks have been criminally charged, are currently in custody, and are scheduled for trial. The United States also unsealed indictments against two other Russian nationals for their alleged involvement in conspiring to commit LockBit attacks.

The NCA and international partners plan to assist LockBit victims further. The Agency has acquired over 1,000 decryption keys and will reach out to those based in the United Kingdom in the upcoming days and weeks to support and aid in recovering encrypted data.

The coordinated efforts of the NCA, along with international partners, allowed it to dismantle the LockBit cybercrime group and underscored the need for global collaboration in addressing evolving cyber threats.

Disclaimer

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About The Author

Alisa, a dedicated journalist at the MPost, specializes in cryptocurrency, zero-knowledge proofs, investments, and the expansive realm of Web3. With a keen eye for emerging trends and technologies, she delivers comprehensive coverage to inform and engage readers in the ever-evolving landscape of digital finance.

More articles
Alisa Davidson
Alisa Davidson

Alisa, a dedicated journalist at the MPost, specializes in cryptocurrency, zero-knowledge proofs, investments, and the expansive realm of Web3. With a keen eye for emerging trends and technologies, she delivers comprehensive coverage to inform and engage readers in the ever-evolving landscape of digital finance.

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