Ransomware Kingpin, LockBit, Halted in FBI Takedown

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By Ronald Tech

International Law Agencies Thwart LockBit

Law enforcement bodies from around the world, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.K. National Crime Agency, have successfully dismantled the notorious LockBit hacking group, notorious for its ransomware assaults.

LockBit’s statement on their website expressed their being “under the control” of the U.K. agency, the FBI, and other law enforcement bodies. The agencies have seized the gang’s websites used for ransomware payments, Bloomberg reported.

FBI Operation

The operation, involving law enforcement from 11 different countries, resulted in the seizure of 11,000 domains used by LockBit and its affiliates for ransomware activities. The FBI official stated that the operation specifically targeted LockBit’s infrastructure and its malware deployment system.

LockBit is infamous for using ransomware to encrypt files on victims’ computers and extort payments for their release. The group recruits hackers to execute cyberattacks using LockBit’s tools and infrastructure and receives a portion of the ransom extorted in the hacks.

The cyber gang’s criminal activities have had widespread repercussions, including the disruption of the $26 billion U.S. Treasury market in an attack on the U.S. arm of the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. or ICBC. 

LockBit Green, the group’s most recent iteration, was responsible for a cyberattack on EquilLend, a trading platform that processes trillions of dollars of transactions monthly.

Significance and Legacy of LockBit

Initially gaining attention in 2021 as LockBit 1.0, the group evolved into LockBit 2.0 in 2022, and its most recent version is referred to as LockBit Green.

According to the FBI, the hacking group has perpetrated attacks on 1,600 victims in the U.S. and 2,000 internationally, with the majority in the private sector. The bureau is monitoring 144 million ransom payments connected to LockBit assaults.

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Historical Signposts

In June of last year, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Ltd. confirmed a data breach after falling victim to the LockBit ransomware gang, which threatened to publish stolen data unless a $70 million ransom was paid. In October, Boeing Co. faced a potential cybersecurity crisis when the cyber gang demanded a ransom, threatening to release sensitive data unless their demands were met.

Reflections on Cyber Threats

These incidents, alongside others such as the global ransomware attack in February 2023, have laid bare the expanding threat of cybercrime and underscored the necessity for international cooperation in combatting it.