An online network that had provided a safe haven for cybercriminals has been smashed, Europol says, highlighting an international sting that involved coordination of law enforcement in nine countries.
The sting targeted a network known as DoubleVPN, a service that was advertised in Russian- and English-speaking cybercrime forums for people who wanted to mask the source of ransomware, phishing and other fraud operations.
The service promised anonymity by offering up to quadruple virtual private networks (VPNs), services that are typically used to link computer systems, irrespective of distance and local laws.
“We want to make it very clear there cannot be any safe havens for these kind of criminals. Their criminal acts damage the digitalised society and erode the trust of citizens and companies in digital technologies, therefore their behaviour has to be stopped,” Dutch public prosecutor Wieteke Koorn said.
Investigators seized web domains and the server network used by DoubleVPN.
In several cases, web domains were then replaced by law enforcement pages.
Dutch police led the operation, which stretched across Europe and to the US and Canada.