British cops investigating a cyber-crime group have made a string of arrests.
Though City of London Police gave few details on Thursday, officers are said to be probing the notorious extortionware gang Lapsus$, and have detained and released seven people aged 16 to 21.
In a statement, the force said: “Seven people between the ages of 16 and 21 have been arrested in connection with an investigation into a hacking group. They have all been released under investigation. Our inquiries remain ongoing.”
Among them is a 16-year-old boy from Oxford who has been accused of being one of the crew’s leaders, the BBC reported. He cannot be identified for legal reasons.
Bloomberg first reported the boy’s alleged involvement with the extortion gang on Wednesday, and claims by security researchers that he was the crew’s mastermind. Lapsus$ is the devil-may-care team of miscreants that have broken into major firms including Microsoft, Samsung, Vodafone, and Okta.
It is said the boy netted about $14m in Bitcoin from his online life, and was lately doxxed – which means he had his personal info leaked online – after an apparent falling out with his business partners.
The cyber-crime ring rose to fame in recent months for its brash tactics and its propensity to brag about its exploits on Telegram. Its standard operating procedure is to infiltrate a big target’s network, steal sensitive internal data, make demands to prevent the public release of this material – and usually release some of it anyway.
In February, however, the criminals sneaked into Nvidia‘s networks and stole one terabyte of data including employee credentials and proprietary information, and dumped some of it online.
Days later Lapsus$ said it had raided Samsung and stole 190GB of internal files including some Galaxy device source code.
The criminal group followed that up by claiming it was responsible for a cybersecurity incident at gaming giant Ubisoft.
‘Motivated by theft and destruction’
Microsoft, in its days-late confirmation that Lapsus$, which the Windows giant calls DEV-0537, did indeed steal some of its source code, and said the crime group seems to be “motivated by theft and destruction.”