The Amsterdam cybercrime police team has arrested three men for ransomware activity that generated €2.5 million from extorting small and large organizations in multiple countries.
The suspects, all young men aged between 18 and 21, are charged with stealing sensitive data from victim networks and demanding a ransom. It is believed that they attacked thousands of companies.
Victims include online shops, software firms, social media companies, and institutions connected to critical infrastructure and services.
The threat actors demanded between €100,000 and €700,000, depending on the size of the organization they hacked. The extortion involved threats of leaking the data or destroying the company’s digital infrastructure.
It is unclear if the hackers also encrypted files during the attacks or just stole data and threatened to leak it unless the victim paid a ransom.
The Dutch police say that even when victims paid the ransom, the hackers still sold the stolen data online for extra profit.
“The cybercrime team started the investigation in March 2021 in response to a declaration of data theft and threat to a large Dutch company,” reads the police announcement.