International Cybercrime Coalition Takes Down Ransomware Group Lockbit

( – The emergence of technology has enabled a relatively new swath of criminals that band together to form hacking groups. The organizations target people by employing ransomware or other malware as a means to extort or obtain sensitive information from victims. Intelligence agencies around the world work overtime to identify these threats and neutralize them. In January, the US government succeeded in disrupting a Chinese botnet group. Now, working alongside international partners, the US has disrupted yet another problematic organization.

On Tuesday, February 20, the Department of Justice’s Office of Public Affairs announced it, along with authorities and partners in the UK, had succeeded in disrupting LockBit, “one of the most active ransomware groups in the world.” It provided ransomware to third parties who then use it to encrypt networks and extort money from victims, who have lost an estimated $120 million. It was responsible for nearly a quarter of the 4,000 global attacks in 2023. Those who visited the LockBit site were shown a message saying, “[T]his site is now under control of law enforcement” with UK, US, and several other international flags displayed.

The Justice Department, FBI, and UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) Cyber Division worked with other international law enforcement agencies to seize a number of “public-facing websites” and “control of servers” to disrupt the group’s operations. In addition, several people were arrested and charged in connection with using LockBit’s services.

In the US, two Russian nationals, Ivan Kondratyev, known as Bassterlord, and Artur Sungatov were indicted for “deploying LockBit against numerous victims throughout the” US in New Jersey. Kondratyev faces additional charges in California. All in all, there are five charged with crimes.

Graeme Biggar, director general of the NCA, said LockBit is primarily made up of Russian speakers and does attack nations that were part of the Soviet Union. However, he said there’s no evidence to indicate that Russia is behind the organization.

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