HomeCyberSecurity NewsLockBit Ransomware Hacker Sentenced to Pay $860,000 Following Guilty Plea in Canada

LockBit Ransomware Hacker Sentenced to Pay $860,000 Following Guilty Plea in Canada

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

Mikhail Vasiliev, a resident of Ontario, was initially apprehended in November 2022 and accused by the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) of conspiring with others to intentionally damage protected computers and transmit ransom demands.

The news of Vasiliev’s imprisonment was first covered by CTV News.

The defendant, whose home was searched by Canadian law enforcement authorities in August and October 2022, was found to have a list of potential victims and communication screenshots with “LockBitSupp” on the Tox messaging platform.

The search also revealed a text file with instructions for deploying LockBit ransomware, the ransomware source code, and a control panel used by the e-crime group to distribute the file-locking malware.

According to CTV News, Vasiliev pleaded guilty to eight charges of cyber extortion, mischief, and weapons offenses last month. During sentencing, Justice Michelle Fuerst described him as a “cyber terrorist” driven by greed.

He is believed to have turned to cybercrime during the COVID-19 pandemic, attempting to extort ransom payments from three Canadian companies between 2021 and 2022 by stealing and holding their data hostage.

Vasiliev, who has agreed to be extradited to the U.S., has also been ordered to repay over $860,000 in restitution.

LockBit, one of the most active ransomware groups, suffered a significant setback in February 2024 when its infrastructure was seized in a coordinated law enforcement operation. The operation also led to the arrests of three LockBit associates in Poland and Ukraine.

Although the group resurfaced with a new data leak site, there are indications that the new victims listed are either old or fake, designed to give the impression that the group is operational again.

Meanwhile, a federal jury in Washington, D.C., convicted Roman Sterlingov, a dual Russian-Swedish national, for operating Bitcoin Fog from 2011 to 2021, facilitating the laundering of illegal proceeds from various criminal activities.

Ilya Lichtenstein, who pleaded guilty in August 2023 to stealing about 120,000 bitcoin in connection to the Bitfinex hack, testified that he used Bitcoin Fog multiple times to launder virtual assets.

The DoJ stated that Bitcoin Fog was the longest-running cryptocurrency ‘mixer’ used by criminals to hide their illicit profits from law enforcement. The operation moved over 1.2 million bitcoin, valued at approximately $400 million during the transactions.



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