Justice Department Takes Down LockBit, Arrests Members


The Department of Justice, in collaboration with international law enforcement agencies, has taken an important step in the ongoing fight against cybercrime with the disruption of the system LockBit ransomware group operations.

LockBit, recognized as one of the most active ransomware groups in the world, has inflicted massive damage by targeting over 2,000 victims and extorting over $120 million in ransoms. This infamous group has caused immense financial losses and operational disruptions to businesses and organizations around the world.

Coordinated Justice Department Effort

The disruption of LockBit Operations was made possible through a coordinated effort involving the Cyber ​​Division of the UK National Crime Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)and other law enforcement partners.

Department of Justice

By taking control of LockBit’s infrastructure, including public websites and servers used by administrators, law enforcement effectively dismantled the group’s ability to carry out further attacks and extort victims by threatening to publish the stolen data.

This action by the Department of Justice represents a significant blow to LockBit’s criminal enterprise and sends a strong message to cybercriminals that their activities will not go unpunished.

Attorney General Merrick B. Garland highlighted the importance of this operation, stating that it not only disrupts LockBit’s criminal activities, but also provides much-needed relief to victims.

“For years, LockBit associates have deployed these types of attacks repeatedly in the United States and around the world. Today, U.S. and British law enforcement is taking away the keys to their criminal operations,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland.

“And we’re going even further: we’ve also obtained keys to the seized LockBit infrastructure to help victims decrypt their captured systems and regain access to their data. LockBit is not the first Ransomware variant that the Ministry of Justice and its international partners have dismantled. It won’t be the last,” Garland continued.

In addition to taking control of LockBit’s infrastructure, law enforcement obtained decryption keys, allowing victims to regain access to their encrypted data. This proactive approach not only mitigates the immediate impact of LockBit’s attacks, but also demonstrates the Department of Justice’s commitment to supporting and protecting victims of cybercrime.

Liability of cybercriminals

Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco echoed these sentiments, emphasizing the department’s commitment to disrupting cybercriminal networks and prioritizing the needs of victims. The revelation of indictments against Russian nationals Artur Sungatov and Ivan Kondratyev, accused of deploying LockBit against numerous victims, once again illustrates the ministry’s determination to hold cybercriminals accountable for their actions.

Sungatov and Kondratyev allegedly played key roles in the global LockBit conspiracy, which also included other Russian nationals and associates responsible for the development and deployment of the ransomware.

FBI Director Christopher A. Wray welcomed the successful disruption of the LockBit criminal ecosystem, emphasizing the FBI’s commitment to defending cybersecurity and national security against malicious actors. The indictment of Sungatov and Kondratyev, along with previous charges against other LockBit members, represents a significant step forward in the department’s efforts to dismantle ransomware networks and protect critical infrastructure.

Through years of innovative investigative work, the FBI and our partners have significantly degraded the capabilities of these individuals. the Pirates responsible for launching crippling ransomware attacks against critical infrastructure and other public and private organizations across the world. This operation demonstrates both our ability and commitment to defend our nation’s cybersecurity and national security against any malicious actors seeking to impact our way of life. We will continue to work with our domestic and international allies to identify, disrupt, and deter cyberthreats, and to hold their perpetrators accountable,” said Director Christopher A. Wray.

Modus Operandi of the LockBit Ransomware group

The LockBit ransomware variant operates under the “ransomware-as-a-service” model, in which developers design the ransomware and recruit affiliates to deploy it on vulnerable computer systems. These affiliates, often operating under pseudonyms, illegally access and encrypt victims’ data, demanding ransom payments in exchange for decryption keys.

Disrupting LockBit’s operations disrupts this criminal enterprise and deprives cybercriminals of their ability to profit from their illicit activities.

The joint operation to disrupt LockBit’s operations involved law enforcement from various countries, including the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Australia, Canada, Netherlands, Finland and Sweden. Coordinated by Europol and Eurojust, this multinational effort demonstrates the importance of international cooperation in the fight against cybercrime and the protection of cyberspace.

Additionally, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control announced the designation of Sungatov and Kondratyev for their roles in launching cyberattacks.

This designation further highlights the consequences faced by individuals involved in cybercriminal activity and reinforces the message that the United States will not tolerate malicious behavior that threatens national security and the global economy.

Overall, LockBit’s disruption of operations represents a significant victory in the fight against ransomware and cybercrime. By dismantling criminal networks and holding perpetrators accountable, law enforcement strives to protect businesses, organizations and individuals from the devastating consequences of cyberattacks.

As technology continues to evolve, collaboration between international partners will be essential to stay ahead of emerging threats and ensure a safe and secure digital environment for all.

Media Disclaimer: This report is based on internal and external research obtained through various means. The information provided is for reference purposes only and users take full responsibility for their reliance on it. The Cyber ​​Express assumes no responsibility for the accuracy or consequences of the use of this information.

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