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Ukrainian Cyber Police Arrest Suspects for Hijacking Millions of Emails and Instagram Accounts

The Ukrainian Cyber Police have recently made a significant breakthrough in tackling organized cybercrime. They have apprehended three suspects suspected of hijacking over 100 million emails and Instagram accounts from users worldwide. These individuals, aged between 20 and 40, are believed to be part of an organized criminal group operating in different regions of the country. If found guilty, they could face up to 15 years in prison.

The group is reported to have used attacks, which involve repeatedly guessing login credentials until successful, to gain access to the accounts. The group was led by a mastermind who assigned hacking tasks to other members. The stolen credentials were then sold on the dark for profit.

Other cybercriminals who purchased the information used the compromised accounts for various fraudulent activities. One of the most common scams involved criminals contacting the victim's friends and requesting urgent money transfers to their bank accounts. The Cyber Police have advised users to protect their accounts by setting up two-factor authentication and using strong passwords.

In a coordinated operation, officials conducted seven searches in different cities, seizing 70 computers, 14 phones, bank cards, and over $3,000 in cash. The swift action by the Cyber Police is a clear indication that cybercrime will not be tolerated, and perpetrators will be brought to justice.

This development comes after a U.S. national, Robert Purbeck or Lifelock, pleaded guilty to hacking into multiple entities, including a medical clinic. He was found guilty of stealing personal information from over 132,000 individuals. He is set to be sentenced in 2024.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Purbeck purchased the clinic's computer server access from the darknet in 2017. He then used it to extract medical records and other documents containing sensitive information of over 43,000 people, such as names, addresses, birthdates, and social security numbers. He also obtained credentials for the City of Newnan, Georgia Police Department server and accessed records of 14,000 individuals.

In his plea agreement, Purbeck agreed to pay over $1 million in restitution to the 19 victims affected by his crimes. A federal jury indicted him in March 2021.

U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan stated that Purbeck's actions were aggravated by his attempt to extort his victims using the stolen data. This case serves as a reminder of the importance of using strong passwords and enabling two-factor authentication on all accounts to prevent such incidents.

Overall, the actions taken by enforcement officials in both the U.S. and Ukraine demonstrate that cybercrime is a serious issue that affects individuals and organizations alike. By remaining vigilant and taking steps to protect ourselves online, we can all do our part to help prevent these types of crimes from occurring.

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