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Tuesday, February 20, 2024

LockBit Ransomware Operation Shut Down; Criminals Arrested; Decryption Keys Launched

Feb 20, 2024NewsroomRansomware / Information Safety

LockBit Ransomware Operation Shut Down

The U.Okay. Nationwide Crime Company (NCA) on Tuesday confirmed that it obtained LockBit’s supply code in addition to intelligence pertaining to its actions and their associates as a part of a devoted activity pressure known as Operation Cronos.

“A few of the information on LockBit’s techniques belonged to victims who had paid a ransom to the menace actors, evidencing that even when a ransom is paid, it doesn’t assure that information might be deleted, regardless of what the criminals have promised,” the company mentioned.

It additionally introduced the arrest of two LockBit actors in Poland and Ukraine. Over 200 cryptocurrency accounts linked to the group have been frozen. Indictments have additionally been unsealed within the U.S. in opposition to two different Russian nationals who’re alleged to have carried out LockBit assaults.

Artur Sungatov and Ivan Gennadievich Kondratiev (aka Bassterlord) have been accused of deploying LockBit in opposition to quite a few victims all through the U.S., together with companies nationwide within the manufacturing and different industries, in addition to victims around the globe within the semiconductor and different industries, per the U.S. Division of Justice (DoJ).


Kondratyev has additionally been charged with three legal counts arising from his use of the Sodinokibi, also referred to as REvil, ransomware variant to encrypt information, exfiltrate sufferer data, and extort a ransom fee from a company sufferer primarily based in Alameda County, California.

The event comes within the aftermath of an worldwide disruption marketing campaign concentrating on LockBit, which the NCA described because the “world’s most dangerous cyber crime group.”

As a part of the takedown efforts, the company mentioned it took management of LockBit’s companies and infiltrated its complete legal enterprise. This consists of the administration setting utilized by associates and the public-facing leak web site hosted on the darkish net.

As well as, 34 servers belonging to LockBit associates have additionally been dismantled and greater than 1,000 decryption keys have been retrieved from the confiscated LockBit servers.

LockBit Ransomware Operation Shut Down

LockBit, since its debut in late 2019, runs a ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) scheme by which the encryptors are licensed to associates, who perform the assaults in alternate for a lower of the ransom proceeds.

The assaults observe a tactic known as double extortion to steal delicate information previous to encrypting them, with the menace actors making use of strain on victims to make a fee with a purpose to decrypt their recordsdata and stop their information from being printed.

LockBit Ransomware Operation Shut Down

“The ransomware group can also be notorious for experimenting with new strategies for pressuring their victims into paying ransoms,” Europol mentioned.

“Triple extortion is one such technique which incorporates the normal strategies of encrypting the sufferer’s information and threatening to leak it, but in addition incorporates distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) assaults as an extra layer of strain.”


The information theft is facilitated by way of a customized information exfiltration software codenamed StealBit. The infrastructure, which was used to arrange and switch sufferer information, has since been seized by authorities from three international locations, counting the U.S.

In response to Eurojust and DoJ, LockBit assaults are believed to have affected over 2,500 victims everywhere in the world and netted greater than $120 million in illicit income. A decryption software has additionally been made obtainable by way of No Extra Ransom to get well recordsdata encrypted by the ransomware for free of charge.

“By means of our shut collaboration, we’ve got hacked the hackers; taken management of their infrastructure, seized their supply code, and obtained keys that can assist victims decrypt their techniques,” NCA Director Basic Graeme Biggar mentioned.

“As of right now, LockBit are locked out. We have now broken the aptitude and most notably, the credibility of a gaggle that relied on secrecy and anonymity. LockBit might search to rebuild their legal enterprise. Nonetheless, we all know who they’re, and the way they function.”

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