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Cryptocurrency Worth $28 Million Pertaining to NetWalker Ransomware Seized by The United States Authorities

A citizen of Canada has been extradited to the US on the basis of an alleged connection to the Netwalker ransomware.

Photo by Nomad Soul 1 / Envato

Cryptocurrency worth well over $28 million has in fact been confiscated in connection to a former Canadian government employee by the name of Sebastien Vachon-Desjardins. He is being extradited to the U.S. on charges pertaining to the NetWalker Ransomware.

Per the Department of Justice (DoJ), Vachon-Desjardins has in fact been charged with 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 arising from his alleged participation in Netwalker, which is a sophisticated form of ransomware.

Cited by the DoJ, the indictment also alleges that the U.S. intends to forfeit over $27 million of the $28 million it has seized, which is allegedly traceable to the offenses’ proceeds.

“As exemplified by the seizure of cryptocurrency by our Canadian partners, we will use all legally available avenues to pursue seizure and forfeiture of the alleged proceeds of ransomware, whether located domestically or abroad,” said Kenneth A. Polite Jr., the Assistant Attorney General.

He further stated, “The department will not cease to pursue and seize cryptocurrency ransoms, thereby thwarting the attempts of ransomware actors to evade law enforcement through the use of virtual currency.”

Netwalker is an incredibly complex form of ransomware. One that has targeted victims of law enforcement agencies, commercial entities, and even the healthcare sector during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Previously, Netwalker hackers have been identified by law enforcement as the actors behind Argentina’s shutdown of international borders in September of 2020. At the time, the said attackers requested $4 million in Bitcoin.

Furthermore, in September 2020, Netwalker hackers also made a demand of $8 million in Bitcoin for Pakistan’s biggest power producer in order to access its own data in the aftermath of a cyber attack.

It’s because of huge examples such as these, on top of various other ransomware attacks that cryptocurrencies have been pushed to center stage in terms of the broader ransomware industry.

Crane Hassold, a former FBI agent and current Director of Threat Intelligence at Abnormal Security said that cryptocurrencies have in fact become the “primary factor” that drives today’s ransomware industry.


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