DOJ Unveils Indictments Against Alleged Trickbot and Conti Cybercriminals


US Department of Justice unsealed indictments Thursday against nine individuals associated with the Trickbot and Conti cybercriminal gangs, the latest in an ongoing campaign against digital criminal organizations.

The DOJ has “taken action against individuals who we believe developed and deployed a dangerous malware program used in cyberattacks against U.S. school districts, local governments, and financial institutions,” Attorney General Merrick said Garland in the press release.

“Additionally, we have also taken action against individuals we suspect of being behind one of the most prolific ransomware variants used in cyberattacks across the United States, including attacks against local police departments and emergency medical services,” he added.

Earlier today, the United States and the United Kingdom announced sanctions against members of the Russian hacking group and others linked to the Conti ransomware program, seven of whom are named in the indictments.

The United States had already extradited two people for their roles in the Trickbot organization.

The FBI’s investigation into the group remains “ongoing,” according to a senior bureau official.

The indictments are another example of a more aggressive strategy by U.S. law enforcement to combat cybercrime, thwarting hackers and disrupting their operations rather than simply arresting them.

Last month, the FBI took down the prolific QakBot botnet, which was part of a steady stream of proactive operations, including actions against the notorious cybercrime gang known as Hive, and seizures of Genesis Market – a hacker market for stolen connections – and BreachForums.

These were all “proactive and disruptive activities,” the senior FBI official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told The Record.

“It takes a constant pace of activity and a constant pressure campaign for us to have an impact on this,” the official added.

“It’s not like the mob busting days in the ’90s, where you rounded up 50 people and executed 50 search warrants. It is an ongoing activity. »

However, the official could not say what qualitative impact the different actions have had on digital crime in general, beyond the fact that law enforcement “has an impact, I think, on the ecosystem and about how people think about what they do and whether or not they do.” they want to do this in the future.

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Martin Matishak

Martin Matishak is a senior cybersecurity reporter for The Record. He spent the last five years at Politico, where he covered Congress, the Pentagon and the U.S. intelligence community and was a driving force behind the publication’s cybersecurity newsletter.

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