Cyber ​​crime, the most important operations of 2022

Cyber ​​crime, the most important operations of 2022

Cyber ​​crime

Let's take a look at the major cybercrime operations that have characterized the past year and how law enforcement agencies from different countries of the world have brought them down. From hackers who kept Bitcoin hidden inside a box of popcorn for ten years to gangs of teenagers who manage to hack Uber, what have been some of the most important tech crime stories of the last few months?

The man who hid a billion dollars in a box of popcorn

In early November, a man named James Zhong pleaded guilty to a fraud involving more than a billion dollars. After a hunt that lasted almost ten years, the US authorities managed to locate fifty thousand Bitcoins stolen from the Silk Road - the famous illegal marketplace that was dismantled in 2013. Perhaps the most absurd detail is that the computer on which the missing Silk Road funds were kept is was found hidden in a box of popcorn in the back of a closet. Now Zhong faces up to twenty years in prison, and his sentence is expected in February.

The Raccoon Infostealer story

In October, the official indictment was Mark Sokolovsky, a Ukrainian national believed to be one of the directors of a giant cybercrime operation known as “Raccoon Infostealers ”. From 2018 to 2022, Sokolovsky and associates sold malware capable of stealing credentials and other sensitive information from victims' devices, which was very popular in the cybercriminal community due to its intuitiveness and ease of use. The number of unique credentials stolen thanks to Raccoon is said to be over fifty million - among them, thousands belonged to Italian citizens. Sokolovsky is now in the Netherlands, awaiting extradition.

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The operation against the Lapsus$ group

One of the most heinous criminal groups that became famous in 2022 is certainly Lapsus$ , which counts companies of the caliber of Microsoft and Samsung among its victims. In March, seven people were arrested by London police for connections to the criminal group. The mastermind behind the operation would be a sixteen year old, known by the nicknames of "White" or "Breachbase": the Bloomberg newspaper was the first to track down the young hacker, after a rival had published his information online about him. It is unclear whether "White" is also among those arrested.

The 17-year-old who hacked Uber

In September, also in London, another teenager was arrested, accused of having orchestrated two of the most serious cyber-attacks of the last twelve months: the one against Uber and the one against the video game company Rockstar Games. In the first case, he would have managed to penetrate company systems by stealing an employee's password. In the case of Rockstar Games he would have access to an as yet unreleased version of the popular game Grand Theft Auto.

The iSpoof operation

In November, an international police operation, which also involved Italy, dismantled the iSpoof site, a service that allowed phone numbers to be hidden . iSpoof was used by scammers all over the world to make fraudulent calls - for example by posing as bank operators to obtain credentials from unsuspecting victims. More than 120 people were arrested: it was the largest anti-cybercrime operation in the history of the United Kingdom.