Ukrainian law enforcement officials announced that they had shut down a hacking group based in the city of Lviv. The group was acting on behalf of Russian interests. The gang made a profit of $372,000 (14 million UAH) by using illegal electronic payment systems such as YooMoney, Qiwi, and WebMoney. The group specialized in selling 30 million accounts on the dark web that were linked to people from Ukraine and the European Union. “Their ‘wholesale clients’ were pro-kremlin propagandists. It was them who used the received identification data of Ukrainian and foreign citizens to spread fake ‘news’ from the front and sow panic,” stated the Security Service of Ukraine (SSU).
The goal of the campaign was “large-scale destabilization in multiple countries.” Hacked accounts were used to spread fake information about the socio-political situation in Ukraine and the E.U. During searches conducted at the suspects’ homes, magnetic disks containing personal data, computer hardware, mobile phones, SIM cards, and flash drives were found. The arrest came a week after SSU took action to shut down two bot farms with about 7,000 accounts each, which were used to propagate information intended to destabilize Ukraine’s political and social climate.