The VPN service was shut down on Tuesday as officials from the United States, Canada and several European countries seized servers and websites around the world belonging to DoubleVPN, according to Europol, the European force coordination agency. order. Visitors to the company’s website are now greeted with a government takedown notice.
“Law enforcement gained access to DoubleVPN’s servers and seized personal information, logs and statistics kept by DoubleVPN on all of its customers,” the notice states, adding that officials intend to use the data to further their investigation.
“Today’s announcement sends a strong message to criminals who use such services: the golden age of criminal VPNs is over,” said Edvardas Šileris, director of the European Cybercrime Center.
Coordinated action follows public pledges by the Biden administration to build an international coalition against ransomware and cybercrime, amid a wave of ransomware attacks against companies seen as critical to U.S. supply chains , including Colonial Pipeline and JBS Foods. The ransomware attacks have also had devastating effects globally, disrupting hospitals in Ireland and a news agency in Germany.
This capability allowed cybercriminals to use DoubleVPN as a safe haven from which to launch malicious cyber attacks, Europol said in a statement.
“DoubleVPN has received wide publicity on Russian and English-speaking underground cybercrime forums,” the statement read, “as a way to hide the location and identity of ransomware operators and phishing scammers.” .
The group of agencies coordinated for months before the withdrawal, Europol said, from last October.
The FBI and the US Secret Service, which participated in the operation, according to Europol, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.