A ‘bulletproof’ VPN provider has been shut down by the FBI and Europol that was helping cybercriminals to conceal their operation through the internet. The operation to take down the VPN, dubbed Operation Nova, was organized by the German Reutlingen Police with assistance and helps from many willing international partners. The administration didn’t keep logs and steered traffic through a progression of VPN connections. While numerous VPNs try their level best to keep clients hidden and secure, this organization unmistakably crossed a line.
What does a VPN do?
Millions of users on the Internet use VPN for various purposes. Some use it to protect their identity and privacy online while some might use it to access the content available in a different country. VPN hides the actual IP-addresses of the users thus making them more anonymous. This protects the users from being phished by third-party monitoring systems that try to snoop in unwantedly. While there are benefits of these services it is very easy to exploit the functionalities as well. Criminals can abuse these services and cover their tracks effectively. Most of the good VPN providers do not store identifiable logs that make it difficult for the Law enforcement agencies to track back to the criminals.
The VPN that went to extreme lengths
Safe-Inet is the VPN service that took the high road and went to extreme lengths to safeguard the identities of its customers. As stated by Europol, Safe-Inet was used by some of the most skilled and biggest cybercriminals including ransomware operators who had many companies at its mercy. The VPN helped safeguard the identities of the criminals and they went undetected from the tracking system.
Europol reports that the VPN was sold at a very high price to the cybercriminals and offered up to 5 layers of protection to slip past unidentified by the law enforcement interceptions. The law enforcement later analyzed and was able to figure out around 250 companies across the world that were being spied by the criminals who were using this VPN. The companies were then warned by the law to expect an imminent ransomware attack. This gave a head start to the companies to protect themselves against the attack.
The Justice Department of the US on this matter
The Justice believes that these bulletproof services are in a way designed to host criminal activities. These services are intended to encourage continuous online crimes and to permit clients to work while sidestepping location detection by law implementation. A large number of these administrations are promoted on an online forum devoted to talking about criminal activities.
A bulletproof VPN hoster’s exercises may incorporate disregarding or creating excuses in light of misuse of objections made by their client’s casualties; moving their client accounts or potential information from one IP address, worker, or nation to another to assist them with avoiding location; and not looking after logs.