Saturday, April 13, 2024

LockBit Ransomware Members Charged by Authorities, Free Decryptor Released

In a significant blow to one of the most prolific ransomware operations, authorities from the U.S. and U.K., in collaboration with international law enforcement, have disrupted the LockBit ransomware variant.

The coordinated effort led to the arrest of two operators in Poland and Ukraine and the release of a free decryptor tool that will aid hundreds of victims worldwide restore their encrypted systems.

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The LockBit Ransomware Variant

The National Crime Agency (NCA), alongside the FBI and other international partners, developed decryption capabilities to counteract the LockBit ransomware.

Victims are encouraged to contact the FBI through a dedicated portal to determine if their systems can be decrypted.

The operation, known as Operation Cronos, was a months-long effort that compromised LockBit’s primary platform and critical infrastructure, including the seizure of 34 servers across multiple countries and the freezing of over 200 cryptocurrency wallets.

LockBit, which first appeared in January 2020, had become one of the most active ransomware groups, targeting many organizations, including high-profile victims like Boeing and the UK Royal Mail.

The U.S. Department of Justice has unsealed indictments against two Russian nationals for their involvement in LockBit attacks, adding to previous charges against other members of the group.

International Law Enforcement Operation

The takedown of LockBit’s servers and the release of the free decryptor tool, available via the ‘No More Ransom‘ portal, represent a significant victory in the ongoing battle against cybercrime.

The international crackdown, coordinated by Operation Cronos, has compromised LockBit’s primary platform and other critical infrastructure, including the takedown of 34 servers in the Netherlands, Germany, Finland, France, Switzerland, Australia, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

This infrastructure is now under law enforcement control, and more than 14,000 rogue accounts responsible for exfiltration or infrastructure have been identified and referred for further action.

The free decryptor tool, developed with Europol’s support, is a significant resource for LockBit 3.0 Black Ransomware victims, enabling them to recover their encrypted files without ransom.

The operation also retrieved over 1,000 decryption keys from the seized LockBit servers, which will be instrumental in ongoing operations targeting the group’s leaders.

With the release of the free decryptor and the seizure of the ransomware group’s infrastructure, there is renewed hope for organizations affected by LockBit’s malicious activities.

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Divya is a Senior Journalist at GBhackers covering Cyber Attacks, Threats, Breaches, Vulnerabilities and other happenings in the cyber world.

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