Ukrainian police say hackers who targeted US firms with ransomware have been uncovered

Ukrainian police have identified a group of six hackers who engaged in ransomware targeting the servers of companies from South Korea and the U.S. 

Between 2019 and 2021, Ukrainian police identified several instances in which hackers threatened to reveal the personal information of people within the companies or universities being attacked unless they received a ransom in return, the National Police of Ukraine said in a statement.

According to police, four South Korean companies were attacked and three American universities: Stanford University Medical School, the University of Maryland and the University of California. 

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Police said that the total amount in damages “reaches $500 million.” Police also added that 21 searches were conducted “in the capital and Kyiv region, in the homes of the defendants and in their cars.”

"Computer equipment, cars and about 5 million hryvnias in cash were confiscated. The property of the perpetrators was seized," the police said in a statement.

Ukrainian police did not provide any specific information on the hackers themselves or if any of the suspects had been arrested.

Ransomware attacks have been on the rise in recent years. According to a report by the cybersecurity firm Group-IB, "the number of ransomware attacks grew by more than 150% in 2020" based off of 500 attacks that the firm tracked or investigated.