US pledges $ 10 million for tip on co-developer of Lockbit ransomware
Ransomware brought 200 million USD in profits to the creators
The U.S. government has pledged $ 10 million for a “golden tip” about a Russian hacker suspected of playing a “key role” in the “development and deployment” of the Lockbit, Hive and Babuk ransomware families.
According to the US Department of justice, he attacked “critical infrastructure” from around the world from Russia, “including hospitals, government agencies and victims in other sectors.” He, along with other members of these ransomware gangs, made more than 2,800 victims and is estimated to have received more than $ 200 million in ransom, according to the U.S. government. In total, about 400 million in ransom would have been demanded.
The reward is awarded for the tip that leads to the arrest and / or conviction of the hacker. He faces a prison sentence of more than twenty years. Since he is believed to be in Russia, it is unlikely that he will actually be arrested, as that country does not allow extradition. A government spokesman has called Russia a “safe haven” for cybercriminals, ” in which they are free to openly carry out ransomware attacks on us organizations.”
It concerns the Russian Mikhail Pavlovich Matveev, who is known online under the names Wazawaka, m1x, Boriselcin and Uhodiransomwar, among others. According to the US, he not only deployed, but also partially developed the Lockbit, Hive and Babuk ransomware. He was also placed on the Blocked Persons list on Tuesday. That means Americans can’t do business with him. Paying ransom to persons on this list can also be seen as illegal.
Criminals from the Lockbit gang were recently behind the ransomware attack on the KNVB, although it later turned out that the data on that attack was taken from the Lockbit site. The group also stole and published data from the North Brabant healthcare institution Joris Zorg. The Hive ransomware has been used to carry out an attack on MediaMarkt in 2021.
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