Law enforcement agencies in the US, France, Switzerland, Germany, and the Netherlands conducted a joint operation Nova, aimed at shutting down three VPN services, that were used by hackers to conduct web skimming, phishing, and account hijacking.
As a result of the operation, the following services were closed: insorg.org, safe-inet.com, and safe-inet.net. Soon, the new landing-pages appeared on the sites, informing about the arrest of domains.
All services have been running for more than a decade, and investigators believe they were operated by the same person or group of people. However, so far, no charges have been brought against the operators of VPN services.
These “bulletproof” VPNs were heavily advertised on both Russian-language and English-language hack forums, and their services cost from $ 1.3 a day to $ 190 a year.
Representatives of the US Department of Justice and Europol said that the listed VPN providers helped to disguise the real identities of ransomware hackers, worked with Magecart groups (web skimming), phishers, and hackers involved in the seizure of other people’s accounts.
The servers of VPN providers were arrested in five countries around the world. Europol representatives said they intend to analyze the information collected from the servers and bring cases against some users.