A Polish national is facing fraud and money laundering charges after his web hosting company purportedly used by hackers was seized, the Justice Department announced Friday.
Artur Grabowski, 36, operated web host LolekHosted, which purported to be a secure and “bulletproof” platform known to be preferred by criminal hackers.
These “bulletproof” web hosting services have been known to have been used for multiple types of hacking, including ransomware, phishing, and brute-force attacks in which an attacker submits passwords en masse in the hopes that one ends up being correct.
Mr. Grabowski is accused of facilitating criminal acts by his clients by allowing them to register accounts with fake information, changing the IP address of the company’s servers repeatedly, not logging the IP addresses of clients, ignoring third-party claims of abuse against his clients, and warning clients about queries from authorities.
After registering LolekHosted in 2014, Mr. Grabowski purportedly advertised the company offered “100% privacy hosting,” allowing the hosting of any content with the exception of child sex abuse material.
One hacking operation that LolekHosted is alleged to have hosted is the NetWalker ransomware, which would then be deployed against around 400 victims in about 50 attacks worldwide.
Victims included municipalities, companies, hospitals, school districts, colleges and universities, and law enforcement. The hackers were paid over 5,000 bitcoin in ransoms (currently worth about $146 million, according to the DOJ.)
LolekHosted is alleged to have been used as an intermediary for these attackers, as well as a digital storage space for hacking “tools” and stolen information from victims.
The LolekHosted.net domain was seized by the U.S. government on Tuesday, with a warrant issued by the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida. Mr. Grabowski faces charges of computer fraud conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy and international money laundering.
If Mr. Grabowski is convicted, he will face up to 45 years in prison, and will also have to forfeit $21.5 million in purportedly criminal proceeds. Mr. Grabowski is currently a fugitive.