back to article International police shut down 15 server infrastructures as part of VPNLab.net's takedown

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 …

  1. bronskimac

    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?

    1. HildyJ Silver badge

      Re: Are all VPNs on the hit list?

      The "Intelligence" community doesn't want them shut down, just backdoored.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Are all VPNs on the hit list?

      They only need to close down the VPNs that don't already have backdoors.

  2. JDPower666 Bronze badge

    There was a burglary here the other day, crim got in using a crowbar so I presume the police will be raiding and shutting down the local DIY store. He wore gloves and balaclava as well, so that's Primark next.

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Over here, if you're carrying a screwdriver, that's a "burglary tool" so the cops get carte blanche to shake you down.

      1. captain veg Silver badge

        carrying a screwdriver

        Is that carrying a toolbox that happens to contain a screwdriver, or wandering around with one secreted about your person? If the latter, that could reasonable be construed as concealing an offensive weapon.

        -A.

    2. captain veg Silver badge

      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.

      -A.

      1. EnviableOne Silver badge

        I've always wondered

        how my local sports store manages to sell 10 times the number of baseball bats as it does mits, and there are no diamonds in the area...

    3. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

      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.

  3. talk_is_cheap

    I guess that means that the phone networks will be next as they are used by scammers to perform serious criminal acts.

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. Dr Gerard Bulger

    Does that mean Tor itself and those running tor exits will be next?

    The implication is any hiding of ID and path is now illegal.

    Tor may be a bit broken anyway. But glad I closed my exits last month or PC plod might call. Pity for those in Burma etc that were using them

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Tor exits aren't next, they were first

      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.

  6. captain veg Silver badge

    web domain

    "Web domains were yesterday replaced with a law enforcement splash page"

    I don't know what a "web domain" is. Something to do with a web *site*, perhaps?

    -A.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: web domain

      Multiple sites can be hosted in a single domain, particularly if subdomains are used. It read to me that ALL references to the domain, regardless of destination, resulted in the splash page.

      1. captain veg Silver badge

        Re: web domain

        I have an MX and FTP server associated with my domain. Neither has anything to do with "web".

        Web != Internet.

        -A.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: web domain

      As in Domain Registration, and Domain Registrar, and the fact that this was done with Domain Redirection, not actually changing the contents of the replaced website.

      Cause "It's always DNS" :)

  7. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    So, is it LabVPN or VPNLab ?

    Some consistency would be appreciated, or at least a hint as to why the name change.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yes, shutting one VPN network down definitely will end all criminal activity

    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.

    1. lglethal Silver badge

      Re: Yes, shutting one VPN network down definitely will end all criminal activity

      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...

    2. Lazlo Woodbine

      Re: Yes, shutting one VPN network down definitely will end all criminal activity

      So what you're saying is that if a police action doesn't wipe out that type of crime entirely they should just not bother at all...

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