LockBit Ransomware Hacker Ordered to Pay $860,000 After Guilty Plea in Canada

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A 34-year-old Russian-Canadian national has been sentenced to nearly four years in jail in Canada for his participation in the LockBit global ransomware operation. Mikhail Vasiliev, an Ontario resident, was originally arrested in November 2022 and charged by the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) with “conspiring with others to intentionally damage protected computers and to transmit

A 34-year-old Russian-Canadian national has been sentenced to nearly four years in jail in Canada for his participation in the LockBit global ransomware operation.

Mikhail Vasiliev, an Ontario resident, was originally arrested in November 2022 and charged by the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) with “conspiring with others to intentionally damage protected computers and to transmit ransom demands in connection with doing so.”

News of Vasiliev’s jail term was first reported by CTV News.

The defendant, who had his home searched by Canadian law enforcement authorities in August and October 2022, is said to have kept a list of “prospective or historical” victims and screenshots of communications exchanged with “LockBitSupp” on the Tox messaging platform.

The raid also uncovered a text file with instructions to deploy LockBit ransomware, the ransomware source code, and a control panel used by the e-crime group to deliver the file-locking malware.

Vasiliev, according to CTV News, pleaded guilty to eight counts of cyber extortion, mischief, and weapons charges last month. During the sentencing, he was characterized by Justice Michelle Fuerst as a “cyber terrorist” who was “motivated by his own greed.”

He is believed to have become a cyber criminal while at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, attempting to seek ransom payments from three Canadian companies between 2021 and 2022 by stealing their data and holding it hostage.

Vasiliev, who has consented to being extradited to the U.S., has also been ordered to pay back more than $860,000 in restitution.

One of the most prolific ransomware groups in history, LockBit suffered a huge blow in February 2024, when its infrastructure was seized in a coordinated law enforcement operation. The disruption was accompanied by arrests of three LockBit affiliates in Poland and Ukraine.

Although the group reemerged with a new data leak site, there is evidence to suggest that the new victims being listed are either old or fake, designed to give an impression that the group is back up and running.

The development arrives as a federal jury in Washington, D.C., convicted Roman Sterlingov, a dual Russian-Swedish national, for his operation of Bitcoin Fog from 2011 through 2021, facilitating the laundering of profits made from the sale of illegal narcotics, computer crimes, stolen identities, and child sexual abuse material.

Ilya Lichtenstein, who pleaded guilty in August 2023 to the theft of about 120,000 bitcoin in connection to the hack of the Bitfinex cryptocurrency exchange, testified last month how he had used Bitcoin Fog 10 times to launder the virtual assets, Bloomberg reported.

“Bitcoin Fog was the longest-running cryptocurrency ‘mixer,’ gaining notoriety as a go-to money laundering service for criminals seeking to hide their illicit proceeds from law enforcement,” the DoJ said.

“Over the course of its decade-long operation, Bitcoin Fog moved over 1.2 million bitcoin, which was valued at approximately $400 million at the time of the transactions.”

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 The Hacker News 

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