Major cybercrime takedowns announced by US and Europe

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The US and Europe have separately reported significant cybercrime takedowns of networks that conned people of billions.
The US and Europe have separately reported significant cybercrime takedowns of networks that conned people of billions.

The US and Europe have separately reported significant cybercrime takedowns of networks that conned people of billions.

The United States and Europe have separately announced significant operations targeting cybercrime networks that have defrauded individuals of billions of dollars.

These coordinated efforts have led to arrests, asset seizures, and the dismantling of extensive botnet operations.

US Cybercrime Bust

Arrest and Asset Seizure

In the US, authorities have arrested Chinese national YunHe Wang, seizing a range of luxury assets including a Ferrari, luxury watches, and 21 properties. This operation marks one of the most significant cybercrime takedowns in history.

Botnet Operations

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Wang is accused of using a botnet to hack into over 19 million devices across nearly 200 countries. Botnets involve taking over people’s computers to install malicious software, which can collect data, send spam, or delete personal data without the owner’s knowledge.

Nicole Argentieri, principal deputy assistant attorney general, stated, “Wang created malware that compromised millions of residential computers around the world and then sold access to the infected computers to cybercriminals.”

Crimes and Consequences

The compromised devices were used for a wide range of criminal activities, including fraud, child exploitation, harassment, and bomb threats. One significant impact was the filing of over 500,000 fraudulent unemployment insurance claims, resulting in losses exceeding $5.9 billion.

Wang reportedly used his illicit proceeds to acquire $60 million in luxury assets, including a Ferrari, a Rolls-Royce, two BMWs, several high-end watches, bank accounts, and cryptocurrency wallets. He also purchased properties in various countries including the US, St Kitts and Nevis, China, Singapore, Thailand, and the UAE.

International Cooperation

Law enforcement agencies in Singapore and Thailand, along with technology giant Microsoft, contributed to the investigation.

Wang faces charges of conspiracy to commit computer fraud, substantive computer fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. If convicted on all counts, he faces up to 65 years in prison.

Europol’s Operation Endgame

Arrests and Seizures

Europol has also reported major successes in its fight against cybercrime, arresting the ringleaders of several botnet-based cybercrime networks.

Arrests were made in Armenia and Ukraine, and servers were taken down across multiple countries, including the UK, US, and Germany. Over 2,000 websites are now under the control of European law enforcement.

Ransomware and Fugitives

One of the main suspects reportedly made over €69 million through ransomware operations, which lock users out of their computers until a ransom is paid. Europol has identified eight fugitives involved in cybercrime, who will be added to Europe’s “most wanted” list.

Ongoing Operations

Europol’s crackdown, dubbed Operation Endgame, is ongoing with plans for further busts. The malicious software was primarily spread through phishing attempts and compromised websites.

Conclusion

These significant cybercrime busts by the US Department of Justice and Europol highlight the global effort to combat cyber threats.

The arrests, asset seizures, and dismantling of botnets mark a crucial step in addressing the sophisticated operations of cybercriminals.

With continued international cooperation and advanced investigative techniques, authorities aim to further diminish the capabilities of these cybercrime networks.

Gary Monroe

Gary Monroe is a seasoned contributor to the Los Angeles Business Magazine, where he offers insightful analysis on local business trends and economic developments. With a focus on Los Angeles' dynamic commercial landscape, Gary's articles provide valuable perspectives for entrepreneurs and business professionals in the city.

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