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Ukrainian Police Arrest Alleged Encryption Expert Linked to Conti and LockBit Ransomware Gangs


June 13, 2024

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Ukrainian Police Arrest Alleged Encryption Expert Linked to Conti and LockBit Ransomware Gangs

Ukrainian cyber police have arrested a 28-year-old Russian national in Kyiv for alleged ties with the infamous Conti and LockBit ransomware gangs.

Authorities believe the suspect may have aided both cybercrime syndicates by writing code that allowed their malware to bypass security software and slip undetected onto compromised systems.

Suspect Apprehended in ‘Operation Endgame’

Furthermore, the alleged perpetrator may have carried out at least one attack by himself. The man was apprehended on April 18 as part of “Operation Endgame,” a joint law enforcement operation that disrupted a massive botnet network and led to the apprehension of several of its operators.

The Conti ransomware gang exploited some of the now-defunct botnets, leading investigators to the Russian encryption expert. Ukrainian police said in a press release that the suspect “specialized in the development of cryptors (from the English crypt - hiding place) - special software for masking computer viruses under the guise of safe files.”

His alleged expertise may have contributed to helping the ransomware gangs hide their malicious payloads from most antivirus software.

Encryption Expert Allegedly Helped Conti and LockBit Ransomware Gangs

Authorities discovered evidence that the man assisted both Conti and LockBit ransomware gangs in making their malware undetectable, increasing their chance of success in attacks on compromised networks.

Furthermore, the Dutch police said the alleged perpetrator orchestrated a ransomware attack in 2021 by himself, leveraging a Conti payload, acting as an affiliate for the notorious gang.

Analysis May Reveal More About the Suspect’s Involvement

The Ukrainian police investigation culminated with a series of searches in Kyiv and Kharkiv, which led to the seizure of mobile phones, computer equipment, and handwritten notes. Further investigation of the sequestrated artifacts may reveal the extent of the suspect’s involvement with the Conti and LockBit ransomware gangs.

The accused has been formally charged under Part 5 of Article 361 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, which pertains to unauthorized interference with the operation of information, information and communication systems, electronic communication, and electronic communication networks. He could face up to 15 years in prison.

Keeping Safe From Ransomware

Unfortunately, ransomware casts a large shadow over the cybersecurity landscape, indiscriminately plaguing the digital world and wreaking havoc on businesses and individuals.

However, specialized software such as Bitdefender Ultimate Security can mitigate these threats and secure critical data from malicious encryption and extortion attempts. Its extensive list of features detects and deters ransomware, viruses, zero-day exploits, worms, Trojans, spyware, rootkits and other intrusions.




Vlad's love for technology and writing created rich soil for his interest in cybersecurity to sprout into a full-on passion. Before becoming a Security Analyst, he covered tech and security topics.

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