Europol Arrests 29-Year-Old in Cryptojacking Takedown
A suspect in organizing a multimillion-dollar cryptojacking scheme was arrested following an extensive investigation conducted by Europol with the support of the National Police of Ukraine.
A 29-year-old Ukrainian national was apprehended this week in the city of Mykolaiv. His identity has been withheld in the interest of the investigation.
During the operation, in addition to the arrest, searches were conducted in three of the suspect’s residences. Evidence collected during these raids will assist the investigation in building a case.
It is noteworthy that the investigation became possible thanks to cooperation between Europol and a major cloud service provider. This provider initially approached the European law enforcement agency, reporting the hacking of its clients’ accounts. The information was then passed on to the Ukrainian authorities.
According to the investigation, the criminal illegally used the hacked infrastructure of several organizations for cryptocurrency mining over an extended period. This allowed him to acquire cryptocurrencies worth over 2 million dollars.
Meanwhile, the victim companies remained unaware of the breach, continuing to pay for the service as if nothing had happened.
Studies show that cryptojackers typically earn 1 dollar in profit for every 53 dollars spent by the attacked company on cloud services. Despite several years of study into cryptojacking, successful campaigns continue to yield substantial sums for the perpetrators.
For instance, in 2022, the TeamTNT group obtained about 8100 dollars from their criminal activities, while their victims faced bills totaling 430,000 dollars.
Strictly speaking, the definition of cryptojacking implies the illegal use of not only cloud resources but any other capacities suitable for mining. However, if criminals want to achieve results quickly, they primarily target cloud services.
This arrest was made possible due to the effective collaboration between law enforcement and the private sector in combating cybercrime. It demonstrates the importance of joint efforts in identifying and stopping such criminal schemes.
The man is now awaiting trial, and his whereabouts are unknown. The investigation is gathering final data to take just measures.