Home LockBit hacker gang compromised in FBI, international law enforcement sting

LockBit hacker gang compromised in FBI, international law enforcement sting

One of the most prolific hacker organizations has been significantly compromised by an international multi-agency investigation, including the FBI and the UK National Crime Agency.

LockBit was the group targeted, shutting down numerous websites used for ransomware payments.

Overall, law enforcement authorities from 11 different countries were involved in the sting which obtained 11,000 domains operated by LockBit and their associates as part of their criminal enterprise.

On Monday, a statement on Lockbit’s website read: “This site is now under the control of the National Crime Agency of the UK, working in close cooperation with the FBI and the international law enforcement task force, ‘Operation Cronos’.”

Ransomware is malicious software that locks files on the computers and online spaces of victims, leading to demands of payment for access to be returned. LockBit is known to be a specialist in this form of nefarious activity, with significant financial gains received from the hacking extortion.

Millions of ransom attacks

The same group was responsible for the November 2023 hit on the US operation of Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, a catalyst for significant disruption to the US Treasury market. The world’s largest lender by assets was forced to instruct its clients to make trades via alternate means after the cyber strike rendered their systems unable to clear a large volume of transactions.

They also targeted a website used by Boeing to sell aircraft parts and software.

Under the name of LockBit 1.0, the hacker group gained significant exposure and recognition in 2021, due to the threat they posed. The name changed to LockBit 2.0 then we had LockBit Green, its most recent identity.

Last month, their victim was Equilend, a major trading platform that processes transactions worth trillions of dollars each month, with an incident that impacted the company’s automated lending facility.

The FBI has estimated LockBit has impacted 1600 victims in the US, and 2000 around the world. Most of those involved are active within the private sector, with the FBI adding it is monitoring 144 million ransoms related to the hackers’ actions.

Featured image: AI generated via Ideogram

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Graeme Hanna
Tech Journalist

Graeme Hanna is a full-time, freelance writer with significant experience in online news as well as content writing. Since January 2021, he has contributed as a football and news writer for several mainstream UK titles including The Glasgow Times, Rangers Review, Manchester Evening News, MyLondon, Give Me Sport, and the Belfast News Letter. Graeme has worked across several briefs including news and feature writing in addition to other significant work experience in professional services. Now a contributing news writer at ReadWrite.com, he is involved with pitching relevant content for publication as well as writing engaging tech news stories.

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