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U.S. Department of Justice charges NetWalker Ransomware attacker

U.S. Department of Justice charges NetWalker Ransomware attacker
Worried Businessman Looking At Laptop With Ransomware Word On The Screen At The Workplace

The U.S. authorities have charged a Canadian who’s supposedly liable for approximately $27 million in ransomware attacks. The U.S. authorities have disrupted a significant ransomware operator that targets hospitals over the world amidst the COVID-19 outbreak. Moreover, the authorities have conducted such efforts with the assistance of the Chainalysis blockchain firm.

The U.S. DOJ (Department of Justice), the Bulgarian General Directorate Combating Organized Crime, and the Bulgarian National Investigation Service have operated concurrently to trace down and disrupt NetWalker hardware in Bulgaria. The authorities detained Canadian national, Sébastien Vachon-Desjardins, who have obtained $27.6 million. Also, he is accountable for ransomware attacks utilizing the NetWalker ransomware operator.

NetWalker Ransomware operates Ransomware-as-service Model

On January 27, the U.S. DOJ announced that they had caught an estimate of US$455,000 in cryptocurrency that had been given by victims of three separate attacks. Bulgarian authorities snagged a dark web hidden resource employed by NetWalker ransomware members as per the report. Further, NetWalker performs a ransomware-as-service model that emphasizes “affiliates” and developers. NetWalker ransomware attacks target victimized universities, hospitals, companies, municipalities, and even the healthcare sector.

NetWalker gangs have attacked various targets in Canada. It involves the Northwest Territories Power Corporation, a Canadian Tire store in B.C., and the College of Nurses of Ontario. Court documents show that Vachon-Desjardins was charged with a crime in Florida on various counts. Moreover, it involves collaboration to cause computer damage and perform computer-related fraud.

The NetWalker ransomware group modified its practices over the current years to illegally obtain sensitive data from victims before clasping them off their computers for ransom. They usually demand ransom in cryptocurrency. Moreover, they often developed their attacks on schools and hospitals, which are significant resources due to the pandemic. According to the DOJ, this hackers’ organization has pushed over 305 victims in various countries. Reportedly, the group made at least $46 million after operating in 2019.

Summing it up, ransomware attacks are a matter of grave concern facing the crypto sector. As ransomware expands, the rates of victimization increases. Hospitals, educational institutions, banks, and government agencies have all been held captive by ransomware attacks. Moreover, they have to pay in bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies to recover their information.

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