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Could LockBit, ransomware provider now taken over by authorities, have been behind Lurie hack?

FBI busts LockBit cyber gang, which is behind numerous ransomware attacks
FBI busts LockBit cyber gang, which is behind numerous ransomware attacks 02:16

CHICAGO (CBS) -- In what could be a major development in the cyberattack against Lurie Children's Hospital, the FBI and British authorities have taken down what they call the world's most prolific ransomware group.

There is speculation that the group, LockBit, could also be behind the attack and serious outage at the hospital that began back on Jan. 31.

The group's involvement has not been confirmed, but LockBit took credit for a very similar outage at a hospital on the city's West Side.

Meanwhile, cybersecurity experts said the LockBit bust cold potentially give malware victims like Lurie the keys they need.

 "There is always the digital trail, and we will find it," said Philip Sellinger, U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey.

Law enforcement said the digital trail showed LockBit was responsible for stealing at least $120 million from thousands of victims around the world.

"The group has been indiscriminate in their targeting - exploiting organizations affiliated with government agencies, hospitals, schools, to high-profile global companies," said Brett Lederman, deputy assistant director for cyber operations at the FBI.

The LockBit gang was behind a cyberattack at St. Anthony Hospital in Little Village in December. The group reportedly took credit for the ransomware attack online.

On Tuesday, law enforcement agencies announced they have infiltrated and disrupted LockBit - which provides ransomware to so-called affiliates who infect networks with malware and demand ransoms.

The group has been linked to thousands of attacks since 2019.

The front page of LockBit's website was replaced with the words "this site is now under control of law enforcement," alongside the flags of the U.K., the U.S., and several other nations.

Could LockBit have been behind cyberattack at Lurie Children's Hospital? 02:14

"It's an incredibly big deal," said cybersecurity expert Rob Lee.

Lee, with the SANS Institute, said this is a huge bust - because it could potentially help other malware victims that have yet to resolve their issues.

"They set up a specific site for ransomware victims to potentially query if the takedown — that basically they were able to recover a lot of keys that would unencrypt a lot of these networks — so they not may not be aware of all of the victims that are out there," said Lee.

Police said LockBit has taken at least $120 million from thousands of victims around the world.

So far, again, LockBit has not publicly taken credit for the outage at Lurie Children's Hospital.

CBS 2 did reach out to St. Anthony's Hospital and Lurie for comment on the bust. As of Tuesday evening, there had been no response. 

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