Ukraine Cyber Police Crack Hacker Group

Together with law enforcement officers of the Republic of Korea and the United States of America, the Ukraine National Cyber Police have exposed a hacker group though to be responsible for the theft of $500 million from companies in South Korea and the United States.

The Ukraine's specialist police unit have arrested members of the hacker group who carried out ransomware attacks on several foreign companies as well as universities between 2019-21. They have detained six members of Cl0p, a ransomware gang that most recently was associated with attacks on Stanford University Medical School and the University of California.

With the help of the malicious program "Clop", the hackers had encrypted the data on the media of companies in the Republic of Korea and the United States. Later, they demanded ransom-money to restore access. The six arrested individuals have been charged under Ukrainian law with offenses related to unauthorised access to computers, automated systems, and telecommunication networks. The individuals face a maximum of up to eight years in prison if convicted on all charges.

In 2019, four Korean companies were attacked with the Clop encryption virus, as a result of which 810 internal servers and personal computers of employees were blocked. Hackers had sent e-mails with a malicious file to the mailboxes of company employees. 

After opening the infected file, the program sequentially downloaded additional programs from the distribution server and completely infected the victims' computers with a remote managed program "Flawed Ammyy RAT".  Using remote access, the suspects activated malicious software "Cobalt Strike", which provided information about the vulnerabilities of infected servers for further capture. The attackers demanded a "ransom" in crypto currency for decrypting the information. 

Unlike common ransomware attacks, which encrypt a large number of uninstalled PCs and servers, the Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) attack is aimed at a specific victim's computer network and infects the entire system with a ransomware program. Law enforcement has managed to shut down the infrastructure from which the virus spreads and block channels for legalising criminally acquired crypto-currencies. 

Police officers conducted 21 searches in the capital and Kiev region, in the homes of the defendants and in their cars. Computer equipment, cars and about $5m in cash were seized. The property of the perpetrators was alsdo seized.  In 2020, the Ukraine Cyber Police carried out ten international police operations to expose hacker groups, detained 326 online fraudsters and prevented 62 facts of breach of intellectual property rights.

 As noted in a message on the Cyber Police website, members of the exposed hacker groups also caused damage to the countries of the European Union, Great Britain and the United States. 

Ukraine Cyber Police:     Dark Reading:     Republic World:        Interfax:       AIN

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