A Canadian court orders a LockBit ransomware hacker to pay $860,000 following a guilty plea.

A Canadian court orders a LockBit ransomware hacker to pay $860,000 following a guilty plea.

In Canada, an individual of Russian-Canadian descent, aged 34, received a nearly four-year prison sentence for his involvement in the LockBit worldwide ransomware campaign.

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

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The prison sentence of Vasiliev was initially reported by CTV News.

Canadian law enforcement authorities allegedly combed the defendant’s residence in August and October 2022 for evidence of a list of “potential or past” victims and screenshots of correspondences exchanged with “LockBitSupp” on the Tox messaging platform.

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Vasiliev pleaded guilty to eight counts of cyber extortion, disturbance, and weapons offenses last month, per CTV News. Justice Michelle Fuerst described him during the sentencing as a “cyber terrorist” whose actions were “driven

It is speculated that he transitioned into the realm of cybercrime while residing at home amidst the COVID-19 contagion. From 2021 to 2022, he endeavored to extract ransom payments from three Canadian corporations through the unauthorized acquisition and seizure of their data.

Additionally, Vasiliev, who has agreed to be extradited to the United States, is obligated to repay over $860,000 in restitution.

LockBit, one of the most prolific ransomware organizations in history, was dealt a devastating setback when its infrastructure was seized by law enforcement in February 2024. In conjunction with the disturbance, three LockBit affiliates were apprehended in Ukraine and Poland.

Despite the fact that the group has resurfaced with a new data breach website, there is evidence to suggest that the newly listed victims are either old or fabricated in order to create the appearance that the organization is operational again.

The news comes after a federal jury in Washington, D.C. convicted dual Russian-Swedish national Roman Sterlingov of operating Bitcoin Fog, which facilitated the laundering of proceeds from the sale of illegal narcotics, computer crimes, stolen identities, and child sexual abuse material, from 2011 to 2021.

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Bloomberg reported that Ilya Lichtenstein, who pleaded guilty in August 2023 to the larceny of approximately 120,000 bitcoin in connection with the Bitfinex cryptocurrency exchange breach, testified last month that he had laundered the virtual assets ten times using Bitcoin Fog.

“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 Justice Department reported.

“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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