Criminal VPN Service Dismantled by Global Police

A VPN service popular with cyber-criminals has been dismantled by a coordinated international law enforcement operation.

DoubleVPN used servers located in various jurisdictions around the world to provide anonymity for ransomware actors, fraudsters and others, according to Europol. It was heavily advertised on English and Russian language cybercrime forums.

Costing as little as $25, the service offered single, double, triple and even quadruple VPN connections to its clients. The more VPN servers traffic is passed through, the harder it is to trace.

The operation was led by the Dutch National Police, under the jurisdiction of the National Public Prosecutor’s Office, with international activity coordinated by Europol and Eurojust, which handles judicial cooperation across the bloc.

The former’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) organized 30 coordination meetings and four workshops to prepare for the final takedown, as well as providing analytical and crypto-tracing support and setting up a virtual command post on the day.

Law enforcement and judicial agencies from the Netherlands, Germany, the UK, Canada, the US, Sweden, Italy, Bulgaria and Switzerland took part in the operation.

“This criminal investigation concerns perpetrators who think they can remain anonymous, while facilitating large-scale cybercrime operations,” said Dutch public prosecutor Wieteke Koorn.

“By taking legal action, including the special investigatory power for digital intrusion, we want to make it very clear there cannot be any safe havens for these kind of criminals. Their criminal acts damage the digitalized society and erode the trust of citizens and companies in digital technologies, therefore their behavior has to be stopped.”

The news follows another major bust in June after a three-year global operation enabled police to access an encrypted messaging system used by organized criminals.

Europol promised more spin-off operations to come thanks to the intelligence gathered from the 27 million Anom messages intercepted by law enforcers.

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