THE HAGUE, June 14 (Xinhua) -- The Hague-based Europol announced on Thursday that a French coder who helped extort British company has been arrested in Thailand, a case highlighting the importance of international cooperation in fighting cybercrimes.
Europol said the 25-year-old French national was an accomplice in the cyber attack against a British-based company that took place in May 2017 during which a large amount of customer data was compromised.
An organisation called Rex Mundi claimed responsibility for the cyber attack and a French-speaking person who identified himself as one of its members called the victim company and demanded ransom to be paid in Bitcoin. The British police, the French police and Europol immediately started an intense international cooperation.
"Within an hour, Europol's 24/7 Operational Center was able to link the available information to a French national. Five people were arrested in June 2017 by the French authorities. The main suspect admitted his involvement in the blackmail but hired the services of a hacker on the dark web to carry out the cyber-attack," said Europol in its press release, adding "The French National Police arrested two hackers in France in October 2017 and a final accomplice, also a French national with coding skills, was recently apprehended in Thailand."
"This case illustrates that cyber-related extortion remains a common tactic among cybercriminals, as identified in the IOCTA 2017 9 (Europol's Internet Organised Crime Threat Assessment)," said the European Union's agency for law enforcement, stressing that international cooperation was key to success in bringing cybercriminals to justice.
According to the IOCTA 2017, for such financially motivated extortion attempts, cyber attacks are typically directed at medium-sized or large enterprises, with payment almost exclusively demanded in Bitcoins.