Canada detains Russian national over LockBit attacks

Mikhail Vasilyev, 33, was detained last month, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) reported.

Vasiliev, a resident of Bradford, Ontario, is currently awaiting extradition to the United States.

Due to his claim to have participated in numerous high-profile ransomware incidents, he is dubbed one of the most prolific ransomware operators in the world. Europol has marked him as a high-value target.

Vasiliev is said to have demanded a ransom of between 5 and 70 million euros from the victims.

During the arrest, police confiscated eight computers, 32 external hard drives and 400,000 euros worth of cryptocurrency from Vasiliev’s home.

According to court documents, they also found screenshots of ‘LockBitSupp’, LockBit’s Linux/ESXi locker distribution order, and a Tox exchange containing the source code of the malware. [pdf].

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They also found images of computer screens with usernames and passwords from multiple platforms owned by employees of the LockBit victim organization in Canada, which was attacked earlier this year.

“This arrest is the result of a two-and-a-half-year investigation into the LockBit ransomware group that has harmed victims in the United States and around the world,” said Lisa Monaco, US Attorney General.

“Give another warning to ransomware attackers. The Department of Justice will work with partners around the world to continue to disrupt cyber threats and hold perpetrators accountable. Together with our partners, we will use all available tools to destroy, deter and punish cybercriminals.”

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Vasiliev was accused of intentionally compromising a protected system and conspiring to send a ransom claim. If convicted, he could face up to five years in prison.

The LockBit ransomware variant first appeared around January 2020 and has developed into one of the most destructive ransomware in the world.

Since its inception, LockBit has been used by at least 1,000 victims worldwide, with attackers demanding at least $100 million in ransom. They received real payments totaling tens of millions of dollars.

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The FBI has been investigating LockBit since March 2020.

According to Europol, two other Lockbit members were detained in Ukraine in September.

Six investigators from the French Military Police, four from the FBI, a prosecutor from the French Prosecutor’s Office in Paris, two experts from the Europol European Cyber ​​Crime Center (EC3), and an Interpol agent were dispatched to jointly investigate with the police. Ukraine

Last year, Ukrainian authorities detained other suspects believed to be members of the Clop and Egregor ransomware operations.

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