US and UK Officials Report Capture of Dark Web Leak Site Linked to LockBit Ransomware Group

A coalition of international law enforcement agencies, including the FBI and the U.K.’s National Crime Agency, have disrupted the operations of the prolific LockBit ransomware gang. LockBit’s dark-web leak site — where the group publicly lists its victims and threatens to leak their stolen data unless a ransom demand is paid — was replaced with a law enforcement notice on Monday. “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,’ the message reads. The group last year claimed responsibility for attacks against aerospace giant Boeing, chipmaker TSMC, and U.K. postal giant Royal Mail. Monday’s takedown is the latest in a series of law enforcement actions targeting ransomware gangs.

A coalition of international law enforcement agencies has joined forces to disrupt the nefarious operations of the infamous LockBit ransomware gang. The FBI and the National Crime Agency of the U.K. are among the organizations working together to combat this prolific cybercrime syndicate.

The group’s usual dark-web leak site, where victims are publicly listed and threatened with data leaks if they don’t pay the ransom, has now been taken down and replaced with a law enforcement notice.

“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,'” the notice declares.

“We can confirm that LockBit’s services have been disrupted as a result of International Law Enforcement action – this is an ongoing and developing operation.”

The downed extortion page proudly displays the logos of organizations such as Europol, representing the collaborative effort of police forces from France, Japan, Switzerland, Canada, Australia, Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland, and Germany.

Hattie Hafenrichter, a spokesperson for the U.K.’s National Crime Agency, confirmed that “LockBit services have been disrupted as a result of international law enforcement action.” She added that this is an “ongoing and developing operation.”

Specific details about this operation, including any potential arrests made, are currently unknown. However, more information is expected to be released later on Tuesday.

The group behind LockBit is believed to be based in Russia, which makes the possibility of an arrest unlikely. On their dark web leak site, they previously claimed to be located in the Netherlands, stating that they are “completely apolitical and only interested in money.”

Since its emergence in 2019, LockBit has rapidly become one of the most notorious and prolific ransomware gangs worldwide. According to officials in the United States, LockBit has been responsible for approximately 1,800 ransomware attacks, both nationally and globally, resulting in an estimated total of $91 million in ransom payments.

Some of the world’s most recognizable organizations have fallen victim to LockBit’s attacks. Last year, they took credit for hacking endeavors against major companies such as aerospace giant Boeing, chipmaker TSMC, and the U.K.’s postal giant, Royal Mail. In more recent times, LockBit has also claimed responsibility for targeting Fulton County in Georgia, causing significant disruptions to vital county services for weeks on end, as well as a cyberattack aimed at India’s state-owned aerospace research lab.

The takedown of LockBit’s operations on Monday is just one in a series of actions taken by law enforcement to combat ransomware gangs. In December, an international collaboration of authorities announced the successful seizure of the dark web leak site of the notorious ransomware gang known as ALPHV, also known as BlackCat. This particular group had been responsible for attacks on prominent victims such as news-sharing site Reddit, healthcare company Norton, and the U.K.’s Barts Health NHS Trust.

This is a developing story.

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Ava Patel

Ava Patel is a cultural critic and commentator with a focus on literature and the arts. She is known for her thought-provoking essays and reviews, and has a talent for bringing new and diverse voices to the forefront of the cultural conversation.

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