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U.S. Reportedly Recovered $6 Million In Cyberattack Ransom Payments From Hackers

By News Creatives Authors , in Business , at November 8, 2021

Topline

The Department of Justice is expected to announce charges against hackers believed to be responsible for using ransomware to target an American business for a $70 million ransom, with U.S. authorities having seized $6 million in related payments, according to CNN.

Key Facts

Ukrainian citizen Yaroslav Vasinskyi and Russian national Yevgeniy Polyanin will reportedly be charged with conspiring to commit fraud and money laundering after launching a cyberattack on Kaseya, a Florida-based software company in July that affected 200 U.S. businesses and hundreds more internationally.

Officials are expected to announce the recovery of at least $6 million in ransomware payments received by Polyanin, though it’s unclear where they’re from, according to CNN.

Vasinskyi, 22, was arrested last month in Poland and remains there in custody awaiting extradition proceedings according to CNN, while Polyanin, 28, is at large.

The two are part of REvil, a Russian-speaking cybercrime gang that has been linked to attacks that have cost companies around the world millions of dollars.

Big Number

$350 million. That’s how much in ransom victims of cyberattacks paid last year in order to gain access to their hacked systems, cryptocurrency tracker Chainalysis told CNN.

Tangent

Many of the hacking groups that target U.S. companies and infrastructure have Russian links, which has strained the already-tense relationship between the U.S. and Russia. In June, President Joe Biden used his first in-person meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin to warn him against launching cyberattacks. Putin and Russia deny sponsoring cyberattacks against the U.S. and American companies. In June, the DOJ created a new task force dedicated to taking on ransomware attacks.

Key Background

REvil is one of the world’s major ransomware groups. In July, the collective used a ransomware attack to extort $11 million from JBS, the world’s largest meat processor. Most of the company’s American operations were offline for several days, which wiped out one-fifth of U.S. beef production. Another major cyberattack hit the U.S. in May, when hacker group DarkSide attacked Colonial Pipeline, which resulted in gas shortages across the East Coast as a key pipeline shut down for several days. Colonial Pipeline paid $4.4 million to regain access, $2.3 million of which the government was able to recover

Further Reading

US seizes $6 million in ransom payments and expected to charge Ukrainian over major cyberattack (CNN)

Ransomware Hackers Demand $70 Million In Bitcoin, Claim Massive U.S. Attack As Biden Investigates Possible Russian Involvement (Forbes)

REvil Ransomware Hackers Who Infected 5,000 Arrested, Police Claim (Forbes)

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