Suspect arrested in Romania in the European investigation on the Umbrella ransomware software


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A suspect was arrested in Romania and is to be handed over to France as part of an investigation into computer attacks with the UMBRELLA ransomware software, which targeted a number of European companies, Paris prosecutor Laure Beccuau announced on Wednesday, reports AFP.

French investigations began in July 2021 “following a computer attack with ransomware software successively named UMBRELLA, DISKSTATION, 7EVEN or QUICK, which attacked a company based in Haute-Garonne”, in the south of France, the prosecutor stated in a communicated.

According to AFP, local media reported at the time that the data of more than 360,000 people were circulating on the dark web after the hacking of an events organization company in Toulouse.

Since then, 35 French victims – individuals, small or medium-sized businesses – have filed complaints.

According to the French prosecutor, “judicial investigations carried out on the various email addresses communicated in the ransom messages and the tracking of bitcoin payments revealed that several European countries – Germany, Spain, Italy and Sweden – were also targeted by similar attacks.”

Five people, located in Romania, were heard on June 4 by local investigators, assisted by members of the Office against Cybercrime (OFAC) of France, as part of a request for international assistance.  A person with Romanian citizenship is under arrest pending his surrender to the French authorities, prosecutor Laure Beccuau indicated.

Around 50,000 euros in cryptocurrencies were confiscated during the operation.

According to the statement, “the first exploitation of the elements found during the search are likely to allow the identification of several hundred victims”. The prosecutor also states that “numerous decoding keys were discovered” which “could allow data recovery”.

The cybercrime section of the Paris prosecutor’s office opened a judicial investigation on March 15 for the crimes of attacks on automatic data processing systems, extortion in an organized group and association with a view to the preparation of a crime.

Sweden has entrusted France with its investigation into cyber attacks that targeted Swedish citizens, and Spain and Germany may follow suit. International coordination takes place under the auspices of the Eurojust and Europol agencies, both based in The Hague.

The Paris Public Prosecutor’s Office invites anyone affected by these attacks to file a complaint on the Thésée platform.

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