LockBit Ransomware Network Compromised by NCA in International Cyber Operation

The UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) has effectively dismantled LockBit, a leading global cybercrime syndicate known for its pervasive ransomware attacks. On Tuesday, February 20th, the NCA delivered a significant setback to LockBit by penetrating and seizing control of its network, indicating a major advancement in the capabilities of cyber law enforcement.

What is LockBit?

LockBit, founded in 2019, has been notorious for its ransomware-as-a-service operations since its inception, enabling a wide network of affiliates to launch cyberattacks worldwide, resulting in extensive financial damages. The group specialized in encrypting victims’ data and demanding ransoms in cryptocurrency, a strategy that has affected thousands globally, including substantial impacts in the UK.

Operation Cronos

A critical aspect of the NCA’s operation was the seizure of LockBit’s primary administrative platforms and its dark web leak sites, effectively cutting off the group’s operational capabilities and its threats to release stolen data. The NCA’s operation, named Operation Cronos, was a collaborative effort with the FBI and international law enforcement from nine countries, showcasing a unified front against global cyber threats.

NCA Director General Graeme Biggar emphasized the operation’s significance, stating, “This NCA-led investigation is a ground-breaking disruption of the world’s most harmful cyber crime group.” The operation’s success was attributed to the innovative approach of “hacking the hackers,” a strategy that involved taking over LockBit’s infrastructure and acquiring crucial data, including the source code of the LockBit platform and decryption keys that could aid victims in recovering their data.

Results and Moving Forward

The operation led to tangible outcomes, including the seizure of infrastructure across three countries, the takedown of 28 servers related to LockBit affiliates, and the freezing of over 200 cryptocurrency accounts linked to the syndicate. Notably, the operation facilitated the arrest of two key LockBit actors in Poland and Ukraine and resulted in the US Department of Justice charging individuals involved in LockBit attacks, highlighting the operation’s extensive international cooperation.

In the aftermath of the operation, the NCA and its partners are positioned to assist victims of LockBit’s ransomware, with over 1,000 decryption keys acquired to help unlock encrypted data. This proactive measure underscores the commitment to not only disrupting cybercriminal activities but also supporting recovery efforts for affected entities.

The collaboration between the NCA, FBI, Europol, and other international law enforcement agencies exemplifies the global resolve against cybercrime. This operation serves as a stark warning to cybercriminals about the evolving capabilities of law enforcement to combat cyber threats and protect global cybersecurity.

How Can Netizen Help?

Netizen ensures that security gets built-in and not bolted-on. Providing advanced solutions to protect critical IT infrastructure such as the popular “CISO-as-a-Service” wherein companies can leverage the expertise of executive-level cybersecurity professionals without having to bear the cost of employing them full time. 

We also offer compliance support, vulnerability assessments, penetration testing, and more security-related services for businesses of any size and type. 

Additionally, Netizen offers an automated and affordable assessment tool that continuously scans systems, websites, applications, and networks to uncover issues. Vulnerability data is then securely analyzed and presented through an easy-to-interpret dashboard to yield actionable risk and compliance information for audiences ranging from IT professionals to executive managers.

Netizen is an ISO 27001:2013 (Information Security Management), ISO 9001:2015, and CMMI V 2.0 Level 3 certified company. We are a proud Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor for hiring and retention of military veterans. 

Questions or concerns? Feel free to reach out to us any time –

Copyright © Netizen Corporation. All Rights Reserved.