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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Three Russians are wanted in the Double-Spider case

In North Rhine-Westphalia, arrest warrants have been issued for three suspected members of the Double-Spider hacker group – Igor T., 41, Irina Z., 36, and Igor G., 32. they are also included in the list of “Europe’s most wanted criminals”, writing Badische Zeitung with reference to the National Criminal Police Office and the Düsseldorf Public Prosecutor’s Office.

According to investigators, the suspects attacked computer systems using DoppelPaymer ransomware and demanded a ransom of “millions” for unlocking.

In Düsseldorf, the defendants are notably accused of hacker attacks against the local university clinic, the media group Funke and the district administration of Anhalt-Bitterfeld. In total, according to the investigation, hackers carried out more than 600 attacks against institutions worldwide (including at least 37 in Germany) and caused significant material damage. Investigators suggest there may be more victims, as they believe some companies may pay the ransom without contacting law enforcement.

In addition to the listed defendants, eight other people are under investigation – German, Russian, Ukrainian and Moldovan citizens. Prosecutors allege it is an “international network of cybercriminals responsible for massive hacker attacks around the world.” Europol and the FBI are also looking for evidence against them. The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation has announced a $5 million reward for helping capture one of the suspects, a 41-year-old Russian.

The German press writes that Double-Spider would have “ties with Russia”, but “there is no proof of the participation of state structures in pirate machinations”.

As North Rhine-Westphalia Interior Minister Herbert Reuhl noted, “it cannot be ruled out that anonymized data and funds (received as a ransom) are used for public purposes”.

“Attacks against critical infrastructure are a game of life or death,” said a Europol representative in Düsseldorf. He recalled that in the case of a hacker attack on the University Hospital in Düsseldorf, it was suspected that attackers could be responsible for the death of one of the patients (this information was verified and ultimately not confirmed).

An international investigation into the hacker group was launched in North Rhine-Westphalia in 20231. According to prosecutor Hartmann, at present the collected evidence can be said to “prove specific actions of specific people”.

According to Dirk Kunze, spokesman for the Düsseldorf police headquarters, the “hacker attack” is only a “simplified definition of what happened” because it is a “group well-structured organized criminal”. He added that an international wanted list would deprive Double-Spider members of the ability to spend funds freely.

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