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Monday, 15 February 2021 07:01

Arrests in Ukraine hit Windows Egregor ransomware gang Featured

Arrests in Ukraine hit Windows Egregor ransomware gang Pixabay

Law enforcement authorities in France and Ukraine have joined forces to arrest a number of people in Ukraine who were using the Windows Egregor ransomware to make money.

A report in the French publication France Inter on 12 February, said the authorities had traced ransom payments paid in bitcoin to individuals in Ukraine.

Those who were taken into custody are said to be affiliates of the Egregor group, with some being providers of logistical and financial support.

The report said the operation had been kicked in the western autumn last year after a number of reports were made to Europol.

Both Egregor's sites, on the web and the dark web, are down at the moment. Egregor has been operating as a ransomware-as-a-service setup.

This is the second case in 2021 of law enforcement authorities going after ransomware operations.

In January, the FBI took down the site of the Windows ransomware NetWalker on the dark web and also arrested a Canadian who was using the malware for attacking companies.

Contacted for comment, Brett Callow, a ransomware researcher with New Zealand-based Emsisoft, said: "More success! This may well have a broader impact as enforcement action undoubtedly serves as a deterrent.

"For example, after NetWalker’s operation was disrupted, another group decided to cease operations citing that as the reason and handed us their keys, enabling us to create a decryptor to help past victims."

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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