Newsdeck

Cybercrime

Four arrested in major European cybercrime sting

Four arrested in major European cybercrime sting
A view of a digital screen during a press conference on cybercrime at the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) in Wiesbaden, Germany, 11 November 2019. The BKA presented the federal picture of the Cybercrime 2018 in Germany. EPA-EFE/RONALD WITTEK

BERLIN/AMSTERDAM, May 30 (Reuters) - Four people have been arrested in Ukraine and Armenia and more than 100 internet servers taken down or disrupted in a major sting operation targeting international cybercrime that has impacted thousands of people, Europol said on Thursday.

Carried out between May 27 and 29, the European Union’s law enforcement agency called it “the largest ever operation against botnets, which play a major role in the deployment of ransomware”.

Dismantled botnets included IcedID, Smokeloader, SystemBC, Pikabot and Bumblebee, it added.

The sting, dubbed Operation Endgame, was initiated and led by France, Germany and the Netherlands. It involved several other countries, including Britain, the United States and Ukraine, Europol said in a statement.

“With the international Operation Endgame, our investigative authorities have succeeded in dealing the biggest and most significant blow against cybercrime to date,” German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said in a statement.

The lengthy police investigation disrupted infrastructure “from which massive attacks with ransomware originate worldwide, in which data is captured, encrypted and then the victims are blackmailed,” Faeser said, adding that such crime caused significant economic damage to Germany.

“The thousands of victims (will be alerted) so that they can protect themselves from other ransomware attacks”, the French prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

One of the arrests was made in Armenia and the other three in Ukraine, Europol said, adding that more than 2,000 domains were now under the control of law enforcement.

Malware allows cybercriminals to secretly connect to people’s computers for malicious purposes.

One of the main suspects earned at least 69 million euros ($75 million) in cryptocurrency by renting out criminal infrastructure sites to deploy ransomware, according to investigators.

(Reporting by Rachel More from Berlin, Charlotte Van Campenhout from Amsterdam; Editing by Shri Navaratnam, Giles Elgood and Bernadette Baum)

Gallery

Comments - Please in order to comment.

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

A South African Hero: You

There’s a 99.7% chance that this isn’t for you. Only 0.3% of our readers have responded to this call for action.

Those 0.3% of our readers are our hidden heroes, who are fuelling our work and impacting the lives of every South African in doing so. They’re the people who contribute to keep Daily Maverick free for all, including you.

The equation is quite simple: the more members we have, the more reporting and investigations we can do, and the greater the impact on the country.

Be part of that 0.3%. Be a Maverick. Be a Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

MavericKids vol 3

How can a child learn to read if they don't have a book?

81% of South African children aged 10 can't read for meaning. You can help by pre-ordering a copy of MavericKids.

For every copy sold we will donate a copy to Gift of The Givers for children in need of reading support.