The US Attorneys’ Office posted a news release that “that law enforcement in the United States has worked jointly in support of an international takedown of a virtual private network (VPN), dubbed “Operation Nova.”  Domain names offered by an organization engaged in “bulletproof hosting” that provided assistance to cyber-criminals were seized, and related servers were shut down. U.S.-based servers used in the scheme were taken offline by U.S. authorities, while International partners did the same.”  The December 22, 2020 news release entitled “U.S. LAW ENFORCEMENT JOINS INTERNATIONAL PARTNERS TO DISRUPT A VPN SERVICE USED TO FACILITATE CRIMINAL ACTIVITY” included these comments:

The investigation revealed that three domains— INSORG.ORG; SAFE-INET.COM; SAFE-INET.NET.—offered “bulletproof hosting services” to website visitors. 

A “bulletproof hosting service” is an online service provided by an individual or an organization that is intentionally designed to provide web hosting or VPN services for criminal activity. 

These services are designed to facilitate uninterrupted online criminal activities and to allow customers to operate while evading detections by law enforcement. 

Many of these services are advertised on online forums dedicated to discussing criminal activity. 

A bulletproof hoster’s activities may include ignoring or fabricating excuses in response to abuse complaints made by their customer’s victims; moving their customer accounts and/or data from one IP address, server, or country to another to help them evade detection; and not maintaining logs (so that none are available for review by law enforcement). 

By providing these services, the bulletproof hosts knowingly support the criminal activities of their clients and become coconspirators in criminal schemes.

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