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7 suspected hackers nabbed in global ransomware crackdown

WASHINGTON — Seven suspected hackers linked to ransomware attacks that have targeted thousands of victims have been arrested since last February as part of a global cybercrime crackdown, European law enforcement authorities announce.

The FBI and the Justice Department were expected to announce criminal charges tied to ransomware later today as well as the seizure of $6 million, according to a US official, who is not authorized to discuss the matter by name ahead of a news conference and speaks on the condition of anonymity.

None of the arrested hackers was identified by name, but Europol says two suspected hackers believed to be linked to the ransomware gang known as REvil were arrested last week for involvement in attacks that yielded about $580,000 in ransom payments. Authorities in Kuwait arrested another accused hacker last week, and South Korean authorities have arrested three since last February. A seventh was arrested last month in Europe.

The arrests were part of a law enforcement investigation called GoldDust that involved the United States and 16 other countries. REvil, also known as Sodinokibi, has been linked in recent months to ransomware targeting the world’s largest meat processor, JBS SA, as well as a Fourth of July weekend attack that snarled businesses around the world through a breach of a Florida-based software company called Kaseya.

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