Police from multiple European Countries (Europol), Canada, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation Police (FBI) reportedly have taken down 15 computer servers used in “major international cyberattacks” said law enforcement agencies. The European Union’s law enforcement agency said after seizing the servers, investigators identified more than 100 businesses that were at risk. These businesses are high chance to being hacked by cybercriminals including ransomware groups.
According to CNN, the crackdown targeted a popular virtual private networking (VPN) service that police say cybercriminals used to cover their tracks while breaching numerous organizations and trying to extort them. “The cybercriminals using this VPN were committing attacks globally,” Europol spokesperson Claire Georges told CNN in an email.
The global survey stated that business executives and security experts around the world see cyberattacks as the greatest danger for companies. In a “Risk Barometer” published on January 18th by AGCS, cyber risk hits the top spot in this year’s survey, with a series of high-profile ransomware attacks, combined with problems caused by accelerating digitalization and remote working.
Ukraine Government Also Attacked
Earlier, Microsoft warned on January 15th that it had detected a highly destructive form of malware in dozens of government and private computer networks in Ukraine. On the next day, national security adviser, Jake Sullivan said the government was examining the code that Microsoft first reported. He said that the US has been warning Ukraine for months that cyberattacks could be part of Russian effort to escalate. Ukrainian officials suspected a group in Belarus of the defacement of their government websites, though they said they suspected Russian involvement. The Ukrainian ministry also said in a statement that several government agencies had been struck by destructive malware, presumably the same code that Microsoft reported.
On January 19th, the cooperation of police of North America and Europol arrested two people in Ukraine who allegedly made multimillion-dollar ransom demands following hacks of European and US organizations. Europol also shut down VPNLab.net, a VPN provider used by malicious actors to deploy ransomware and facilitate other cybercrimes. Ukraine’s Cyber Police said the VPN service was used in more than 150 ransomware infections, causing the victims to shell out a total of €60 million in ransom payments.