Hacker jailed over $700M REvil ransomware scheme

A Ukrainian national has been sentenced to almost 14 years in prison and ordered to pay $16 million for his role in 2,500 ransomware attacks and demanding $700 million in payments.

Yaroslav Vasinskyi, 24, also known as Rabotnik, “conducted thousands of ransomware attacks using the ransomware variant known as Sodinokibi/REvil,” the US Justice Department said in a press release.

Ransomware is malicious software used to encrypt the victims' data, which is then leveraged to siphon money out of victims in exchange for a decryption key. If demands aren’t met, then many individuals will publicly reveal the data.

Vasinskyi and his “co-conspirators demanded ransom payments in cryptocurrency and used cryptocurrency exchangers and mixing services to hide their ill-gotten gains.”

“Yaroslav Vasinskyi and his co-conspirators hacked into thousands of computers around the world and encrypted them with ransomware,” Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri, head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, said.

“Then they demanded over $700 million in ransom payments and threatened to publicly disclose victims’ data if they refused to pay,” Argentieri continued.

Vasinskyi had previously pleaded guilty to “an 11-count indictment charging him with conspiracy to commit fraud and related activity in connection with computers, damage to protected computers, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.” Vasinskyi was previously extradited to the United States from Poland.

In 2023, the Department obtained millions of dollars in ransomware payments which included almost 40 Bitcoin, and $6 million in US dollar funds traceable to alleged ransomware payments received by other members affiliated with the schemes.

REvil, a Russia-linked ransomware cartel, reached its peak in 2021 and 2022 after the gangs’ affiliates breached meat supplier JBS and software company Kaseya.

The attack on Kaseya scrambled the data of hundreds of small businesses worldwide, including many in the United States. REvil gang demanded $70 million to restore the data it was holding for ransom.

In 2022, the Russian domestic intelligence service, the FSB, detained 14 people related to REvil and seized 426 million roubles, $600,000, €500,000, computer equipment, 20 luxury cars, and other assets.

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