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posted by janrinok on Friday January 21, @07:26AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the they-should-have-used-a-VPN.-Oh... dept.

Police take down VPN linked to multiple ransomware hits:

The LabVPN virtual private network (VPN) service has been taken offline and its infrastructure seized in a multinational police operation, having allegedly been employed by cyber criminal gangs to support ransomware campaigns.

The Europol-aided operation on 17 January 2022 spanned 10 countries and involved 12 law enforcement agencies. It was led by the Hanover Police Department in Germany and saw 15 servers seized, with the network's UK-based node taken offline by the National Crime Agency (NCA).

The takedown is the result of a two-year investigation prompted by an August 2019 cyber attack on the local administration of Neustadt am Rübenberge, a small town of around 45,000 located near to Hanover.

LabVPN is accused of allowing its service to be used by cyber criminals in both the preparation and execution of ransomware attacks that have caused significant economic damage to many businesses, including in the UK.

The service was set up in 2008 and offered VPN services on the dark web based on OpenVPN technology, backed with 2048-bit encryption for around $60 per annum. This allegedly made it a popular choice for malicious actors.

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  • (Score: 2) by jimtheowl on Friday January 21, @08:43AM (1 child)

    by jimtheowl (5929) on Friday January 21, @08:43AM (#1214471)
    If "2048-bit encryption for around $60 per annum made it a popular choice for malicious actors", would that not also have made it just as appealing to non malicious actors?

    I suspect that it was a little more complicated than that.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @11:16AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @11:16AM (#1214482)

      It's expensive as hell, i'm surprised they had customers at all.

  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @10:39AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @10:39AM (#1214480)

    Looks like all VPNs can now be shut down with a similar excuse.

    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by khallow on Friday January 21, @12:24PM

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday January 21, @12:24PM (#1214483) Journal

      Looks like all VPNs can now be shut down with a similar excuse.

      It's fruitless to complain that emergencies and criminal/stupid behavior result in excuses for authoritarian action. These things happen over and over again. And my take is that even in the absence of perfidy, sufficiently important emergencies and such would eventually happen to justify almost any level of authority. A better strategy is needed.

      I suggest the following as a starting point: 1) transparent description of the emergency and the responses of the authorities, 2) appropriate support at the time - treat as sincere, 3) follow up at a later time to determine whether there was any deception or other dysfunction, 4) penalties for government agents that fail to do their jobs, and 5) standing down from emergency stances and powers as soon as possible.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @04:23PM (5 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @04:23PM (#1214521)

    So now that we know the cyber security world can relatively easily track down these criminals even through a VPN using high end encryption, are we still going to push for "backdoors" in everything?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @08:01PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @08:01PM (#1214590)

      No, it would spoil the plan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sg14jNbBb-8 [youtube.com]

    • (Score: 0, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @08:22PM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 21, @08:22PM (#1214596)

      are we still going to push for "backdoors" in everything?

      Just in the UK, and, strangely, on SN, because it's a Brit thing. Criminal Auzzies and Rebel Yanks don't like it so much.

      • (Score: 3, Touché) by janrinok on Saturday January 22, @06:40AM (2 children)

        by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Saturday January 22, @06:40AM (#1214727) Journal

        Just in the UK, and, strangely, on SN

        Where have we placed a 'backdoor' - into our own site? Why would we even need to do that? What makes you think that we have the ability to see past VPNs or proxies?

        I've never used recreational drugs but I would love to try some of whatever it is you are using....

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        • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 22, @06:53AM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 22, @06:53AM (#1214731)

          Well, you have banned aristarchus. How did you do that, without surveillance and a backdoor? You claim to know of his crimes, but no evidence was ever presented to the community. I, for one, do not welcome our new SoylentNews Lords of the Inquisition.

          • (Score: 3, Informative) by janrinok on Saturday January 22, @09:29AM

            by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Saturday January 22, @09:29AM (#1214748) Journal

            Well, you have banned aristarchus

            We haven't banned Aristarchus.

            How did you do that, without surveillance and a backdoor?

            Well, we achieved that by not doing it. He could do with improving his karma but a few sensible comments or perhaps a reasonable submission could solve that.

            You claim to know of his crimes

            Where have we claimed that? The moderation ban is because HE LOGGED IN AND ABUSED THE MODERATION SYSTEM - which we feel that is pretty conclusive. He has been invited to contact us by email if he requires more information. He has declined to do so.

            I, for one, do not welcome our new SoylentNews Lords of the Inquisition.

            A bit dramatic don't you think, even for you. I suppose you will be leaving then.....?

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            We are always looking for new staff in different areas - please volunteer if you have some spare time and wish to help
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