Ransomware is an annoying trend that causes a lot of damage to companies, governments and individuals. However, the American Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has recently taken a major hit in cooperation with, among others, the Dutch police. With a major international action, it managed to prevent no less than $ 130 million in ransomware payments, which are often demanded in bitcoin (BTC).
Dutch police infiltrate hacker group
From one press release of the FBI shows that it has carried out a major action in collaboration with the Dutch National High Tech Crime Unit and the German police. In July 2022, authorities infiltrated the Hive ransomware group. That group is said to have made more than 1,500 victims in 80 countries with ransomware. These included hospitals, schools and key infrastructure, where more than $100 million was captured.
Ransomware is software that is secretly installed on a victim’s computer. All data is then encrypted and a ransom is demanded. Only when this is paid for, often with bitcoin or another crypto, will the victim regain access to the encrypted data. MediaMarkt, among others, is said to have fallen victim to this group in the past.
However, Hive went one step further. Before the ransomware was activated, they collected sensitive data about the victim. This includes sensitive financial information or images. If the victim did not pay the amount, the group threatened to publish this data.
Action prevented $130 million in bitcoin ransom payments
The action by, among others, the Dutch police has had a good result. Because the group could be infiltrated, the police were able to give the keys to the encrypted data to the victims. Thus, 300 decryption codes prevented $130 million in ransom payments. In addition, about 1,000 victims who fell victim to ransomware in the past have also received a key.
Earlier it was read in the crypto news that ransomware attacks are becoming less and less successful. That does not alter the fact that everyone should err on the side of caution and therefore take adequate security measures.