DOJ charges NetWalker ransomware attacker who extorted $27M


TL;DR Breakdown:

  • A Canadian NetWalker ransomware attacker has been charged by the US DOJ.
  • More than $400,000 in crypto was confiscated from him.

The United States authorities have charged a Canadian who’s allegedly responsible for about $27 million in ransomware attacks. According to the document, the defendant, named Sebastien Vachon-Desjardins, is part of the NetWalker ransomware group. They increased their attacks on schools and hospitals, which are two important institutions, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.

As part of the charges, meanwhile, the authorities ordered the Canadian national to return the money extorted from victims.

DOJ Canadian NetWalker ransomware attacker charged

Per the document, Vachon-Desjardins was charged by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) with conspiracy to damage a protected computer and to commit wire fraud and computer fraud. Throughout his operation, the US authority said that Vachon-Desjardins illicitly netted about $27 million from the victims attacked with the NetWalker ransomware. None of the victims were mentioned; however, the DOJ said one of the organizations attacked was based in Florida.

The US authorities could seize about $454,530 in cryptocurrency from the Canadian, which was ransom paid victims of the NetWalker ransomware attack. In addition to Vachon-Desjardins indictment, the authorities want him to return all payments – $27 million -sent to him by the victims.

NetWalker attacks

The NetWalker ransomware group modified its tactics over the recent years to illegally extract sensitive data from victims before locking them off their computers for ransom, usually paid in cryptocurrency. They mostly increased their attacks on schools and hospitals, which are very important resources due to the pandemic. According to the DOJ, this group of hackers has attacked more than 305 victims in several countries, including the United States. It’s estimated that the group netted at least $46 million since operating in 2019.

Ransomware attacks are another concern facing the cryptocurrency industry. Cryptopolitan reported that such attacks had been on the rise since the past year.

Ibiam Wayas

Ibiam Wayas

Ibiam is an optimistic crypto journalist. Five years from now, he sees himself establishing a unique crypto media outlet that will breach the gap between the crypto world and the general public. He loves to associate with like-minded individuals and collaborate with them on similar projects. He spends much of his time honing his writing and critical thinking skills.

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