Dutch Authorities Disrupt Ransomware Criminal Networks in the Netherlands

31 May 2024
Author: HSD Foundation

A major international police operation has taken down key infrastructure used by ransomware criminals. In Dutch data centres, police seized dozens of servers. On these, programmes were running to break into companies, after which extortionists could lock down their data. The police themselves are speaking of the biggest operation ever in the fight against ransomware, as fourteen countries were involved in the operation and four people were arrested.


The Dutch police forces took down five different botnets, which were used around the world for cybercrime. A botnet is a network of computers infected with malicious software. This secretly opens the digital door of victims. Criminals buy this access to other people's computer systems, including to carry out ransomware attacks. They then ‘hostage’ important data of their victims and only release it after paying a ransom.


Dutch servers

The Dutch national police seized more than 100 servers on which botnets were running. 33 of these servers were located in Dutch data centres. Criminals often use storage space in the Netherlands because it has good and fast internet and many hosting companies. These providers of online storage space often do not know what happens on their servers. According to the Dutch police, the situation is similar to renting out physical storage space: the landlord can check who he rents to, but does not know what kind of stuff someone puts in a storage box and is not allowed to just look there.


"Check je hack"

The national police is very active in fighting cybercrime. Datasets seized sometimes contain private data of citizens used by criminals. To prevent damage, it is important to check whether your e-mail address appears in datasets. You can do so with their check function! Enter your e-mail address, and if your e-mail address appears in a dataset, you will receive an e-mail from the police at the entered e-mail address. 


Click here to read the full article on shutting down the infrastructure of ransomware criminals (in Dutch).


Source: NOS


Photo: Istock.com/Sashkinw

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