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Coordinated seizure Cybercriminal safe haven DoubleVPN successfully taken down in international operation

DoubleVPN offered users the ability to mask their locations and identities, while conducting ransomware attacks, phishing campaigns and other malicious hacking operations

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The web domains have been replaced with a law enforcement splash page. 

The web domains have been replaced with a law enforcement splash page. 

The web domains have been replaced with a law enforcement splash page. 

Law enforcement and judicial authorities in Europe, the US and Canada have successfully taken down a virtual private network (VPN) service which provided a safe haven for cybercriminals to attack their victims. 

The coordinated takedown, led by the Dutch National Police (Politie) seized the web domains and server infrastructure of DoubleVPN.

DoubleVPN offered users the ability to mask their locations and identities, while conducting ransomware attacks, phishing campaigns and other malicious hacking operations.

Servers across the world where DoubleVPN had hosted content were seized by the Dutch police in an operation involving agencies including Europol's European Cybercrime Centre (EC3), Eurojust, the FBI, and the UK National Crime Agency.

The web domains have been replaced with a law enforcement splash page.

DoubleVPN was heavily advertised on both Russian and English-speaking underground cybercrime forums as a means to mask the location and identities of ransomware operators and phishing fraudsters.

The service claimed to provide a high level of anonymity by offering single, double, triple and even quadruple VPN-connections to its clients.

DoubleVPN was being used to compromise networks all around the world. Its cheapest VPN-connection cost as little as €22 ($25).

Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) supported the investigation and brought together all the involved countries to establish a joint strategy.

Its cybercrime specialists organised over 30 coordination meetings and four workshops to prepare for the final phase of the takedown.

A virtual command post was set up by Europol on the action day to ensure seamless coordination between all the authorities involved in the operation.

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

“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 digitalised society and erode the trust of citizens and companies in digital technologies, therefore their behaviour has to be stopped.”

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