Welcome back to the Tribe! In this post we dive into the recently discovered indictment by the U.S. DOJ for a Ransomware Debacle!
Nothing should be considered investment or financial advice. Enjoy the ride!
A former employee of the Canadian government has been arrested and extradited to the United States. The employee is reportedly a person of interest in a string of ransomware attack cases. U.S. Department of Justice officials also seized cryptocurrency payments from said attacks worth some $28 million.
719 BTC Seized by U.S. DOJ in Cyber Security Case
According to a statement released by the U.S. Department of Justice on Thursday (March 10, 2022), a former Canadian government employee has been extradited to American soil to face charges in connection to cryptocurrency ransomware attacks.
The attacks allegedly date back to April 2020 all through to December 2020. Details from the statement published by the DOJ came that the suspect deployed a complex ransomware protocol dubbed NetWalker. The attack supposedly targeted a plethora of parties including companies, municipalities, hospitals, law enforcement, emergency services, school districts, colleges, and universities.
Officials also said that the suspect identified as 34-year-old Sebastien Vachon-Desjardins from Gatineau, Quebec, Canada also took advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic and went after organizations in the health sector.
Following investigations and a subsequent arrest, Vachon-Desjardins has been indicted on several charges including conspiracy to commit computer fraud and wire fraud, intentional damage to a protected computer, and transmitting a demand in relation to damaging a protected computer.
Furthermore, Investigations made by the Tampa FBI Cyber Divison in Florida in collaboration with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Ontario Provincial Police, Gatineau Police Service, and National Cybercrime Coordination Unit led to the seizure of around 719 Bitcoin tokens. The aforementioned amount allegedly accounts for the proceeds from ransomware attacks launched by the suspect.
Commenting on the case, Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division said the DOJ would ensure that all resources are legally deployed to pursue seizure and forfeiture of alleged ransomware proceeds domestically and internationally.
U.S. Attorney Roger B. Handberg for the Middle District of Florida also added that international cooperation is required to combat the growing trend of cyberattacks. The DOJ official also said that:
“Ransomware is a multi-billion-dollar criminal enterprise that transcends physical and political boundaries. International collaboration is essential to identify the perpetrators of these sophisticated schemes.
This case illustrates effective international law enforcement cooperation directed at identifying cybercriminals, holding them accountable for their alleged criminal actions, and recovering funds allegedly stolen from their victims.”
Vachon-Desjardins is expected to appear before a federal court in Tampa sometime on Thursday,
Ransomware Proceeds Exceeds $1 Billion Since 2020
A cyber security report from Chainalysis shows that ransomware attacks have skyrocketed since 2011. Illicit individuals have opted for crypto as a payment method as decentralized currencies offer a level of anonymity.
The report explains that such attacks accounted for over $692 million in 2020 alone. The digital security firm also identified more than $602 million worth of ransomware payments in 2021. According to the report, a Russian-based group called Conti extorted victims of more than $180 million in 2021 alone.
Conti supposedly makes most of its revenue by ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS), allowing third parties to use his program for illicit attacks.
Other News: Cryptocurrency Payment Gateway
Recently, blockchain payments startup Basqet announced the launch of its cryptocurrency payment gateway which will allow businesses to accept Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as payment.
Basqet said it is launching a public beta and will be going live with 118 businesses already signed up to start accepting payments in Bitcoin and several other cryptocurrencies.
Ransomware Debacle News
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