Europol arrests suspect in Bitcoin extortion ring bust

A person suspected of belonging to a global Bitcoin extortion ring has been arrested and another person detained, following a joint operation by UK and European police.

The people are suspected of being members of a gang known as DDoS for Bitcoin, or DD4BC.

Police said that they seized "an extensive amount of evidence" over the course of several property raids, meaning further arrests could shortly follow.

The group used Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, a common hacking technique, as a threat to extort Bitcoin ransoms out of online businesses.

Previous targets hit by the gang have included Bitcoin exchanges, gambling operations and financial organisations.

Key members of the gang were identified within Bosnia-Herzegovina by the UK Metropolitan Police Cyber Crime Unit.

The arrests were made following Operation Pleiades, a joint taskforce composed of law enforcement from the UK, Austria, Germany, and Bosnia-Herzegovina, as well as international operatives from Europol.

Europol's deputy director of operations, Wil van Gemert, said:"Law enforcement and its partners have to act now to ensure that the cyberspace affecting nearly every part of our daily life is secure against new threats posed by malicious groups.

"These groups employ aggressive measures to silence the victims with the threat of public exposure and reputation damage. Without enhanced reporting mechanisms law enforcement is missing vital means to protect companies and users from recurring cyber-attacks."

"Police actions such as Operation Pleiades highlight the importance of incident reporting and information sharing between law enforcement agencies and the targets of DDoS and extortion attacks."

Adam Shepherd

Adam Shepherd has been a technology journalist since 2015, covering everything from cloud storage and security, to smartphones and servers. Over the course of his career, he’s seen the spread of 5G, the growing ubiquity of wireless devices, and the start of the connected revolution. He’s also been to more trade shows and technology conferences than he cares to count.

Adam is an avid follower of the latest hardware innovations, and he is never happier than when tinkering with complex network configurations, or exploring a new Linux distro. He was also previously a co-host on the ITPro Podcast, where he was often found ranting about his love of strange gadgets, his disdain for Windows Mobile, and everything in between.

You can find Adam tweeting about enterprise technology (or more often bad jokes) @AdamShepherUK.