German police announced to have dismantled an international cybercrime gang behind the DoppelPaymer ransomware operation.
Europol has announced that an international operation conducted by law enforcement in Germany and Ukraine, with help of the US FBI and the Dutch police, targeted two key figures of the DoppelPaymer ransomware group.
“On 28 February 2023, the German Regional Police (Landeskriminalamt Nordrhein-Westfalen) and the Ukrainian National Police (Націона́льна полі́ція Украї́ни), with support from Europol, the Dutch Police (Politie) and the United States Federal Bureau of Investigations, targeted suspected core members of the criminal group responsible for carrying out large-scale cyberattacks with the DoppelPaymer ransomware.” reads the press release published by the Europol.
DoppelPaymer ransomware has been active since June 2019, in November 2020 Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC) warned customers of the DoppelPaymer ransomware and provided useful information on the threat.
The DoppelPaymer ransomware is based on the BitPaymer ransomware and the Dridex malware family, operators often used the EMOTET malware to spread it.
DoppelPaymer was distributed through various channels, such as phishing and spam messages. The operators behind this ransomware family rely on a double extortion scheme, the gang launched a leak site in early 2020. According to German authorities, at least 37 companies were hit with the ransomware, the most prominent victim is the University Hospital in Düsseldorf. The Europol states that in the US, victims payed at least 40 million euros between May 2019 and March 2021.
The law enforcement raided multiple locations in the Germany and Ukraine.
“During the simultaneous actions, German officers raided the house of a German national, who is believed to have played a major role in the DoppelPaymer ransomware group. Investigators are currently analysing the seized equipment to determine the suspect’s exact role in the structure of the ransomware group. At the same time, and despite the current extremely difficult security situation that Ukraine is currently facing due to the invasion by Russia, Ukrainian police officers interrogated a Ukrainian national who is also believed to be a member of the core DoppelPaymer group.” reads a press release published by the Europol. “The Ukrainian officers searched two locations, one in Kiev and one in Kharkiv. During the searches, they seized electronic equipment, which is currently under forensic examination.”
German police in Duesseldorf identified a total of 11 individuals linked to the ransomware group.
“Dirk Kunze, who heads the cybercrime department with North Rhine-Westphalia state police, said at least 601 victims have been identified worldwide, including 37 in Germany. Europol said victims in the United States paid out at least 40 million euros ($42.5 million) to the gang between May 2019 and March 2021.” reported the Associated Press. “The group specialized in “big game hunting,” said Kunze, and ran a professional recruitment operation, luring new members with the promise of paid vacation and asking applicants to submit references for past cybercrimes.”
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