Are all VPNs on the hit list?
It could be argued that any VPN enables criminals to operate safely. Are they going to close them all down?
Some 15 server infrastructures used by crims to prepare ransomware attacks were seized by cops yesterday as part of an international sting to take down VPNLab.net. The VPN provider's service gave users "shielded communications and internet access" that was used in "support of serious criminals acts such as ransomware …
Since law enforcement agencies are not routinely able to summarily shut down internet service providers without judicial licence, we must assume that they had demonstrably good reason to believe that the provider in question was knowingly complicit in facilitating crime, and indeed making a handsome profit of its back.
Your local DIY store, not so much.
Even so, if that store noticed that one particular person was buying up unfeasibly large numbers of crowbars, it's not unreasonable for them to raise the alarm and co-operate with the police. Which would not result in them being raided and shut down.
Just because something is online does not exempt it from normal standards civic responsibility.
One might be suspicious if there was a DIY store that sells crowbars, masks, gloves, lock picking kits, night vision goggles, knives, and bolt cutters but has an otherwise strangely limited inventory and only performs anonymous cash transactions.
Given how often dumpster fires like Frantech/BuyVM are brute-force attacking my personal hosts, I can't say I have much love for extreme-privacy services. Like controls for physical weapons, there's never going to be a great solution but there are going to be some sellers that are more helpful than others.
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The article and the announcement were pretty clear the shutdown was because the operators were aware it was being used to enable criminal activity by subscribers and was at doing more than turning a blind eye to it.
So their isn't really any new policy action here. They were systematically forcing Tor exit nodes offline for years already, regardless of any legal case being made. So the right to run a Tor relay or exit node was already a concern long before this, and is a much bigger problem.
LE doesn't want to stop VPNs, because most can be pressured into playing ball at least to some extent, and there are quality free VPN alternatives LE would prefer people not start using on their own. Didn't keep the plod from sticking its foot in it's mouth in the press release though.
If anyone wondered why people don't take these clowns seriously, this is a great example. Like when they shut down the pirate bay's web host and all the pirates realized they were on notice and just quit forever. Just like when they busted silk road it permanently ended all online drug sales, and closing craigslist's personals section ended all human trafficking.
Oh wait, what it actually pointed out is how these idiots can't stop grandstanding and talking out their ass. This was one swing in a game of whack-a-mole. It will have no meaningful impact on online crime in any big picture sense and is barely newsworthy. There are thousands of other hosts across hundreds of jurisdictions doing the same thing, and will be tomorrow. Congrats, you just cost every criminal who used that service and paid upfront 60$, and a little sleep over what was being logged. >99.999% of the rest of criminal VPN users neither care nor noticed as they don't use VPNLab, or were smart enough to piggyback at least one additional relay on their traffic.
Not that Interpol was in the wrong about the bust, but I care about as much about an individual VPN service getting legitimately busted as what color socks the reporter was wearing when they typed this.
Your missing the point entirely. Yes this wont stop the Cybercrims moving to other VPN services, BUT the people behind this VPN have just lost a lot of money (especially since they were hosting in lots of different countries). Other VPN operators will look at this and sweat a little bit. And when the Police come knocking on their door asking for access to the logs, most will happily open their doors in order to not lose all of their equipment.
When the Police have access to the VPN logs, they can go after the actual Cybercrims. Well, those that arent located and protected in Russia, China, NK, etc.
The Police dont go around shutting down the phone companies, because they simply need to ask for the records, and they get handed over (maybe with a court order if your lucky). VPN's will begin to operate the same way, and those that refuse will find themselves on the end of such co-ordinated raids...
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