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FBI Seizes Ransomware Gang Website In International Effort

The FBI seized the darknet website of the AlphV/Blackcat ransomware gang Tuesday, The Record reports. The Department of Justice released a statement detailing its “disruption campaign” targeting the gang. It also unsealed a search warrant revealing how a confidential source had helped it access more than 900 public/private "key pairs" controlling AlphV’s darknet website infrastructure. The takedown follows more than a week of speculation regarding potential law enforcement action after the criminals’ site became inaccessible this month. Although the site subsequently came back online, it was stripped of all references to victims that the criminals had published as part of their extortion efforts. The ransomware group is notorious for the scale and impact of its attacks, which in the past two months alone have impacted victims including the health care manufacturer Henry Schein, Fidelity National Financial, and the Japanese watchmaker Seiko. 


In an unusual incident in November, the gang reported one of its victims to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in a bid to increase the pressure on financial software company MeridianLink to make an extortion payment. Logos included on the notice credit the involvement of around a dozen agencies, including the U.S. Justice Department, the U.S. Secret Service, Europol, and the German Federal Criminal Police Office. It also included the logo of the U.S. Rewards for Justice Program, which offers to pay individuals who provide information to the U.S. that helps protect national security. It appears to be the first time the program’s logo has been featured on such a splashpage, although the program is regularly cited by law enforcement tackling ransomware gangs.

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