Cybercrime Investigators Hand LockBit an Uno Reverse Card

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Global cybercrime investigators orchestrated a takedown of the gang responsible for LockBit 3.0 ransomware.

  • LockBit became famous for employing ransomware to extort victims and offering rewards for promoting their brand.
  • LockBit group’s high-profile victims included Royal Mail, Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, Boeing, and more.
  • Law enforcement agencies infiltrated LockBit’s core online system.

Global law enforcement agencies took down the world’s most notorious ransomware group, LockBit.

They managed to disrupt LockBit’s operations, seize crucial infrastructure, and arrest key individuals associated with the criminal syndicate. They made a name for themselves by employing ransomware to extort victims. Sometimes, offering rewards for promoting their brand, and flaunting a swagger of invisibility in the digital world. In fact, a while ago, they had offered a monetary reward for anyone who got their logo tattooed. I guess there’s no ego like a hacker’s ego.

They caught law enforcement agencies’ attention early on, which makes sense considering all their high-profile victims. During their reign of terror, they attacked:

  • Royal Mail (U.K.)
  • Industrial & Commercial Bank of China (China)
  • Infosys McCamish System (U.S.)
  • Subway (U.S.)
  • Foxconn subsidiary Foxsemicon (Taiwan)
  • Hospital system Capital Health (US)
  • Boeing (US)
  • Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (Taiwan)
  • And more

I didn’t realize they’ve been this busy. Once the data had been stolen, they deployed a countdown mechanism at the end of which they published the stolen data.

I know that I shouldn’t laugh at the misfortune of others—that is if you consider taking down a ransomware gang that has been terrorizing companies across the world for a little over four years as misfortune— but the way these agencies went about getting the job done is a masterclass in irony.

They infiltrated the group’s core online system and replicated the same tactics, deploying their own countdown mechanism on the LockBit website. But this time, it was for the hackers‘ personal information. Oh, how the tables have turned.

They had to hack the hackers to obtain this information. And while doing so, they kind of hit the LockBit group’s credibility and operations. Who’s going to trust a bunch of hackers who got hacked? I mean come on.

The global cybercrime investigators ended up arresting key operatives in Poland and Ukraine. The US also charged two Russian nationals for their involvement in deploying the LockBit ransomware against numerous organizations. Law enforcement also revealed decryption tools with the hope that hundreds of victim could perhaps regain access to their systems.

Cybersecurity experts are still cautious and apprehensive because ransomware groups are also notorious for being able to rebuild their infrastructure and adapting to law enforcement actions.

Odds are that the law enforcement agencies who cracked down on the ransomware gang used hackers, referred to as white hats. You know what they say, “It takes a thief to catch a thief.” Or, in this case, a hacker. Law enforcement agencies won’t have to train specific people in what I consider to be the art of hacking. Meanwhile, white hats get to satisfy their need of getting into places where they really shouldn’t be. Win-win situation, except for the black hat hackers. But they had it coming.

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