Suspected hackers arrested in global ransomware crackdown


Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco speaks to The Associated Press during an interview at the Department of Justice in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. Monaco told the AP that the public should expect to see more arrests and law enforcement action as the Justice Department deals with the threat of ransomware. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two suspected hackers accused of ransomware attacks resulting in 5,000 infections have been arrested as part of a global cybercrime crackdown, Europol announced Monday.

The two, who were not identified by name, were arrested last week by Romanian authorities. Officials say the attacks, linked to the ransomware gang known as REvil, yielded about half a million euros in ransom payments.

The arrests were part of a 17-nation operation that involved the United States.

Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco appeared to foreshadow Monday’s announcement in an interview with The Associated Press last week, saying that “in the days and weeks to come, you’re going to see more arrests.”

The Justice Department has tried multiple ways to address a ransomware wave that it regards as national security and economic threat, including through prosecutions like the ones announced Monday.

The Justice Department in June seized $2.3 million in cryptocurrency from a payment made by Colonial Pipeline following a ransomware attack that caused the company to temporarily halt operations, creating fuel shortages in parts of the country.

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