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Malicious Crypto Hacker Ring Dismantled By Europol

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By Jaden Francis - - 5 Mins Read
Hacker arrested and placed in handcuffs
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Do you ever worry about the dangers of the internet? There are many malicious individuals attempting to infect regular people's computers and devices with harmful viruses and malware.

One of the most cunning methods they use is through something known as "malware droppers."

Malware droppers act like delivery drivers, but instead of delivering pizzas or packages, they deliver malicious software.

They manage to bypass your computer's security defenses and then deposit viruses, ransomware that locks your files for ransom money, spyware that steals your information, and other malicious malware onto your device. It's as if a burglar broke into your home just to let their whole criminal gang inside, too.

Law enforcement in Europe has launched a strong counterattack against the cybercriminals!

A well-coordinated operation called Operation Endgame took place between May 27th and 29th of 2024.

Europol, which functions similarly to the FBI but for the entire European Union, collaborated with law enforcement agencies from France, Germany, and the Netherlands to dismantle a large international network of malware distributors.

The operation targeted major malware distributors, including IcedID, SystemBC, Pikabot, Smokeloader, Bumblebee, and Trickbot, that operated across servers, websites, and hackers in multiple countries.

Shockingly, one of the ringleaders illicitly amassed $75 million worth of cryptocurrency solely by leasing their malware dropper service to other criminal groups!

Europol is now working hard to follow the cryptocurrency money trail to try to seize and take back those stolen funds.

During Operation Endgame, law enforcement accomplished some huge wins, including:

- Arresting 4 key suspects - 1 in Armenia and 3 in Ukraine

- Searching 16 different locations for evidence across Armenia, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Ukraine

- Taking down or disrupting over 100 servers being used by criminals across countries like Bulgaria, Canada, Germany, Lithuania, Romania, Switzerland, the UK, the US, and Ukraine

- Seizing control of over 2,000 malicious domains and websites utilized by the hackers.

Also read: 3 Hours is Enough Time to Sell Stolen NFTs; See How

Europol's Role

Europol played a vital role throughout, providing critical intelligence analysis, cryptocurrency tracking, digital forensics, and coordination of the enormous international effort.

They even hosted a meeting at their headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands, to bring together officers from all the countries involved.

About Europol

What is Europol exactly? Well, it stands for the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation. Essentially, it facilitates the sharing of information, analysis of intelligence, and collaboration in operations among the national police forces of EU member countries.

While Europol does not have the authority to make arrests, it aids national law enforcement agencies through analysis, forensics, and coordination to combat transnational criminal threats such as cybercrime, terrorism, and organized crime gangs.

Europol and its partners have played a vital role in making the internet safer for everyone by dismantling a network responsible for distributing malware. This achievement is a significant blow to hackers seeking to disseminate viruses and malware.