Canada jails LockBit affiliate for four years

Mikhail Vasiliev, a Russian-Canadian national, was sent to years in prison after pleading guilty to cyber extortion, local media reports.

Vasiliev, a prominent member of the infamous LockBit ransomware cartel, was first arrested in late 2022, with authorities suspecting him of being behind attacks on critical infrastructure organizations and large industrial groups.

At the time of Vasiliev‘s arrest, Europol said the attacker was involved in cyberattacks with ransom demands ranging between €5 million and €70 million.

According to Canada’s, Justice Michelle Fuerst called Vasiliev a “cyber-terrorist” while delivering the sentence. The 34-year-old, who moved to Canada over two decades ago, admitted he was a ransomware operator affiliated with the LockBit gang.

Vasiliev, whose lawyer said his defendant became a hacker during the pandemic, reportedly agreed to be extradited to the US, where he faces additional charges.

On February 19th, authorities crippled LockBit’s operations by compromising the gang’s primary platform and other critical infrastructure. Thirty-four of the gang’s servers and over 200 cryptocurrency accounts linked to the criminal organization were seized, and arrests were made in Poland and Ukraine.

According to the Cybernews ransomware monitoring tool, Ransomlooker, LockBit accounted for 47% of all publicly announced ransomware victims over the last 12 months, netting the gang profits in the multi-billions. Big gets in 2023 included companies such as Boeing and Allen & Overy, as well as the massive November exploit of the Citrix bug zero-day vulnerability.

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