The 'suspected mastermind' of €1.8m crypto-mining scheme operating in Ukraine was arrested last week, Europol said on Friday 12 January.

The National Police of Ukraine, with the support of Europol, apprehended on 9 January the 'individual believed to be the mastermind' who was a  29-year-old in Mykolaiv, Ukraine.

Three properties were searched to gather evidence against the main suspect. The arrest comes after months of intensive collaboration between Ukrainian authorities, Europol and a cloud provider, who worked tirelessly to identify and locate the individual behind the widespread cryptojacking operation.

The suspect is believed to have mined over €1.8m in cryptocurrencies.

Europol further said in the statement: "Cryptojacking in a cloud environment is a malicious activity; malicious actors gain unauthorised access to cloud computing infrastructure and use its computational power to mine cryptocurrencies.

"By stealing cloud resources to mine cryptocurrencies, the criminals can avoid paying the necessary servers and power, the cost of which typically outweighs the profits. The compromised account holders are left with huge cloud bills. This case illustrates the power of law enforcement joining forces with the private sector."

A cloud provider approached Europol back in January 2023 with information regarding compromised cloud user accounts of theirs.

Europol said it shared this information with the Ukrainian authorities, who subsequently opened an investigation.

Since then, all three partners have been working closely together to develop operational leads and prepare for the final phase of the investigation.

Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) set up a virtual command post on the action day, supporting the Ukrainian National Police from Europol’s headquarters, with analysis and forensic support on the data gathered during the searches.