unhappy new year for cybercriminals; VPNLab.net is taken offline

In the early morning of January 17, coordinated acts of sabotage took place in Germany, the Netherlands, Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Latvia, Ukraine, the United States and the United Kingdom. Enforcement agencies have seized 15 servers hosting VPNLab.net services, making these services unavailable. The Central Criminal Investigation Department of the Police Directorate in Hannover, Germany was responsible for the operation, under the banner of Impact-The project Internet Crimes – Attacks on Information Systems.

Preferred provider for cybercriminals
Founded in 2008, VPNLab.net offers services based on OpenVPN technology and 2048-bit encryption to ensure anonymity online for just $60 per year. This led to its spread among cybercriminals, who used the services to continue committing their crimes without fear of being detected by the authorities.

Enforcement agencies tracked down the service provider after multiple investigations revealed that criminals were using VPNLab.net products to facilitate their illegal practices, such as managing botnets and distributing ransomware. Other cases showed that the products were also used to create the infrastructure and communications behind ransomware campaigns. At the same time, investigators found advertisements for the service on the dark web.

As a result of the investigation, hundreds of companies appeared at risk of falling victim to a cyber attack. Law enforcement is currently working closely with these potential victims to make them less vulnerable to attacks.

The use of VPN services for criminal purposes is increasingly besieged
Edvardas Šileris, Head of Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre: “The actions that were part of this investigation show that criminals have fewer and fewer ways to hide their online tracks. Each survey we run provides information for the following. The information we have collected about potential victims will potentially enable us to prevent a number of serious cyber attacks and data breaches.”

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“Another important aspect of this measure is that we are showing that providers who support illegal practices and refuse to provide information when law enforcement agencies legally request are not bulletproof,” said Volker Klue, Hannover Police Chief. International allows us to set up a global network and destroy such companies.”

Europol’s European Cybercrime Center (EC3) supported the Action Day with the “CYBORG” analysis project, which organized over 60 coordination meetings and three face-to-face workshops. In addition, EC3 provided analytical and forensic assistance. The Joint Cybercrime Task Force (J-CAT) facilitated the exchange of information from Europol’s headquarters in The Hague.

The following entities participated in this process:

  • Germany: Politiedirectoraat Hanover (Hanover Police Department) – Centrale Recherche
  • Netherlands: Police, National Unit (National Investigation Service, High Tech Crime Team)
  • Canada: Royal Canadian Mounted Police
  • Czech Republic: Czech Police (Policie eské Republiky) – Department of Cybercrime
  • France: Sub-Directorate for Combating Cybercrime of the Judicial Police (Sous-Direction de la Lutte Contre la Cybercriminalité à la Direction Centrale de la Police Judiciaire (SDLC-DCPJ)
  • Hungary: Hungarian Police (Rendőrség)
  • Latvia: Latvian State Police (Valsts Policija) – Central Investigation Department
  • Oekraïne: Oekraïense Nationale Politie (National Police of Ukraine) – Afdeling Cybercrime
  • United Kingdom: National Crime Agency
  • United States: Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Eurojust
  • Europol: European Cybercrime Center (EC3)

read here The message from Europol.

Megan Vasquez

"Creator. Coffee buff. Internet lover. Organizer. Pop culture geek. Tv fan. Proud foodaholic."

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