Shocking: Russian Hacker Charged in $200M Crypto Ransomware Scheme!
- DOJ charges Russian – Mikhail Pavlovich Matveev, aka Wazawaka, with carrying out a crypto-ransomware scheme against the US infrastructure.
- Reportedly, Matveev made demands of as much as $400 million and stole $200 million.
- Matveev is a controversial figure in the cybercrime world with a history of posting exploit codes and taunting researchers and journalists.
The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has recently made an announcement that a Russian national, Mikhail Pavlovich Matveev, has been charged with two indictments for executing cyberattacks against the U.S. infrastructure.
According to the press release on May 16, the attack was carried out against “numerous victims throughout the United States,” including “law enforcement agencies in Washington, D.C. and New Jersey, as well as victims in healthcare and other sectors nationwide.”
It is noteworthy that the attack goes as far back as 2020, with the ransomware being the variants of LockBit, Babuk, and Hive. The DOJ has unsealed two indictments against Matveev, who also went by the monikers of Wazawaka, m1x, Boriselcin, and Uhodiransomwar. The Russian national made demands of as much as $400 million, with $200 million reportedly stolen.
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division has stated that “From his home base in Russia, Matveev allegedly used multiple ransomware variants to attack critical infrastructure around the world, including hospitals, government agencies, and victims in other sectors. These international crimes demand a coordinated response. We will not relent in imposing consequences on the most egregious actors in the cybercrime ecosystem.”
Matveev is a controversial figure in the cybercrime world, having gone rogue in 2022, posting exploit codes and taunting researchers and journalists. Soon, publishers started to release selfies and videos associated with Matveev. He frequently posted information about the attacks, and his methods seem to directly oppose the care with which ransomware groups were operating following increased scrutiny. His cavalier attitude seems to have caught up with him, with the recent action that law enforcement has taken against him.
Russian entities have frequently been involved in attacks using cryptocurrencies. A Russian national recently pleaded not guilty to laundering ransom payments from attacks on the U.S. infrastructure in 2022. Those outside the jurisdiction have targeted a Ukrainian gas firm. While some attackers, such as the “Robin Hood” attacker stealing funds from Russian law enforcement and donating them to Ukraine, may have positive motives, the fact remains that Russian hackers are still active in the crypto world.
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