Ukrainian cops have arrested two members of a ransomware gang in connection with cryptocurrency scams. The charges involve the creation, distribution, and sale of malicious software and hardware. These arrests come after the Ukrainian government shut down a network of call centers that targeted victims of cryptocurrency scams. These call centers used fake national bank websites and exchanges to lure customers into their scams. Once the victims had paid the commission, all communication with their brokers and exchanges was interrupted.
Ukrainian police search for hacker in cryptocurrency cuff
Ukraine has been under cyberattack from Russia for some time now, and the national police are now looking for a hacker in cryptocurrency cuff. They say the hacker targeted more than 100 foreign companies, and caused damages of $150 million. Europol has been investigating the case, and the police have already arrested half a dozen members of the Clop ransomware gang.
Recently, Ukrainian authorities shut down a network of call centres that were targeting European citizens. The cybercrime network was disguised as a commodity, stock or securities exchange, and lured their victims into handing over their personal information. The criminals used software and high-tech equipment to imitate legitimate banks and extort confidential data from their victims’ bank cards.
The operation was conducted by Ukrainian police with help from Europol, France’s National Gendarmerie, and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation. They were able to seize computers, data storage systems, and other equipment that the suspect used for the illegal activity.
Charges relating to creation, distribution, and sale of malicious software or hardware
Ukrainian law enforcement recently arrested a suspected botnet herder who allegedly used his botnet to launch DDoS attacks and spam campaigns. Other activities included brute-forcing email passwords and scanning websites for vulnerabilities. Police say the botnet herder communicated with customers via encrypted platforms and received payment through platforms that are banned in Ukraine.
The group had been operating an illegal call center, using high-tech equipment and posing as officials from state-owned banks. They lured victims into paying a commission in exchange for the return of their stolen funds. Once they had made the payment, communication with the ‘brokers’ stopped. The group now faces charges related to creation, distribution, and sale of malicious software or hardware.
The alleged scammers were found guilty of committing fraud on a large scale and by a well-organized group. If convicted of the charges, the scammers could face up to twelve years in prison. While there have been many successful startups in Ukraine’s crypto industry, a number of scammers have made the most of the rising interest in the industry in recent months. A report by the cybersecurity company Group-IB found thousands of fraudulent websites in the EU and Ukraine, claiming to be brokers or cryptocurrency exchanges.
The alleged scammers also made use of cryptocurrency in order to hide their identities and avoid prosecution. They received commissions from victims who accepted their services, and commissions were transferred to their accounts controlled by the criminal scheme members. After receiving the funds, the alleged “brokers” abruptly stopped communicating with the victims and the money was never returned. During the investigation, Ukrainian law enforcement confiscated computer equipment, mobile phones, and records that proved the alleged criminal activities.
Arrests of two members of a ransomware gang
Two members of a Ukrainian ransomware gang were arrested in a coordinated raid. The authorities seized a vast number of items, including computer equipment, mobile phones, bank cards, flash drives, and three cars. Police believe the suspects were using these items to launch attacks and extort victims of their encrypted data. The suspects allegedly received their payment in cryptocurrency, a common method of extortion attacks. Authorities believe the suspects used the cryptocurrency to purchase various goods at the expense of the victims.
Europol has identified the two suspects as two of the most prolific operators of ransomware in Ukraine. Europol says the two suspects are behind more than EUR70 million in ransomware demands. A second suspect reportedly helped withdraw stolen money.
The arrests of the suspects were made in Kyiv after authorities searched 21 residences. They are alleged members of the Clop ransomware gang, which has already been responsible for more than $150 million in damage to Western companies. Authorities seized $1.3 million of cryptocurrency belonging to the suspects.
The two suspects have been charged with conspiracy to commit fraud, damage protected computer systems, and money laundering. Authorities are also claiming that the $6.1 million seized from Polyanin is related to ransomware attacks and money laundering.