Germany together with Europol takes down Safe-Inet, a VPN network used by the world’s foremost cybercriminals. Servers / infrastructure seized in Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, France, and the United States.
According to Europol press release, “The Safe-Inet service was shut down and its infrastructure seized in Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, France and the United States. The servers were taken down, and a splash page prepared by Europol was put up online after the domain seizures. This coordinated takedown was carried out in the framework of the European Multidisciplinary Platform Against Criminal Threats (EMPACT).”
The investigation conducted by the agencies unveiled that these three domains – INSORG.ORG; SAFE-INET.COM; SAFE-INET.NET – offered “bulletproof hosting services” to users.
Safe-Inet was active and was providing service for over a decade, their clients include some of the world’s biggest cybercriminals. The service was used for ransomware, e-skimming and other types of cybercrime activities.
Safe-Inet VPN was a high-priced service used by cybercriminals, it was considered as one of the best tools to avoid interception from law enforcement agencies. The VPN offered up to 5 layers of anonymous VPN connections.
According to Europol, the Safe-Inet VPN was used by cybercriminals to spy on around 250 companies worldwide. These companies were however warned by the law enforcement agencies to take measures to avoid an imminent ransomware attack against their systems.
The Safe-Inet connection has been disabled and the infrastructure has been seized by law enforcement.
Agencies are conducting investigations in several countries to identify the cybercriminals or users of the service.
Here are the names of the agencies that conducted the operation against the Safe-Inet VPN service:
- Germany: Police headquarters in Reutlingen (Polizeipräsidium Reutlingen)
- Netherlands: National Police
- Switzerland: the Federal Police (Bundesamt für Polizei)
- United States: Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
- France: the Judicial Police (Direction Centrale de la Police Judiciaire)
- Europol: European Cybercrime Center (EC3)
“The strong working relationship fostered by Europol between the investigators involved in this case on either side of the world was central in bringing down this service. Criminals can run but they cannot hide from law enforcement, and we will continue working tirelessly together with our partners to outsmart them,” said The Head of Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre, Edvardas Šileris.