The operation has announced the successful takedown of Safe-Inet, the popular VPN (virtual private network) service used by cybercriminals to facilitate their activities, which domains include — safe-inet.com, insorg.org, and safe-inet.net, and other related infrastructure taken down as part of the joint operation called "Operation Nova."
The services offered Bulletproof hosting (BPH), which is different from the regular web hosting services in that it allows more leniency in the data that can be hosted on the servers, making it ideal for cybercriminals to easily to evade law enforcement.
How Operation Nova succeeded in Thwarting Safe-Inet
Safe-Inet for over a decade was used by cybercriminals, such as ransomware operators, E-skimming actors and others running nefarious activities related to cybercrime.
Operation Nova were able to identify about 250 companies worldwide which were being targeted by the criminals using the VPN service to both spy and track their activities. These companies haven subsequently been warned of an imminent attack against their systems, enabled them to take effective measures to protect their infrastructues against such attacks.
And with the support of Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3), they commenced investigation to bring together all the involved countries to establish joint strategy and organise the exchange of information and evidence needed to prepare them for the final phase of the Safe-Inet takedown.
Turning the table against Cybercriminals
The shutdown of Safe-Inet, along with all its infrastructures in Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, France and the United States, was made possible following the coordinated takedown carried out in the framework of the European Multidisciplinary Platform Against Criminal Threats (EMPACT).
Further investigations are still ongoing in a number of other countries to identify and take action against some users of Safe-Inet’s services.