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Russian Cybercriminal Accused in $200M Crypto Ransomware Attack on US Infrastructure

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has indicted a Russian national for a crypto-ransomware attack on US infrastructure, unsealing two charges against the individual in question.

The Accused and the Charges

Mikhail Pavlovich Matveev, also known by aliases such as Wazawaka, m1x, Boriselcin, and Uhodiransomwar, stands accused of conducting a wide-scale attack against several victims across the US. The affected sectors spanned law enforcement agencies in Washington, D.C. and New Jersey, along with other victims in the healthcare sector and other industries nationwide.

Matveev’s attack dates back to 2020, deploying ransomware variants LockBit, Babuk, and Hive. Reports indicate that Matveev demanded as much as $400 million in ransom payments, successfully making off with $200 million.

Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, in a statement regarding Matveev, said, “From his home base in Russia, Matveev allegedly used multiple ransomware variants to attack critical infrastructure around the world. We will not relent in imposing consequences on the most egregious actors in the cybercrime ecosystem.”

A Closer Look at Wazawaka

Matveev, a notorious figure in the cybercrime landscape, reportedly went rogue in 2022, posting exploit codes and taunting researchers and journalists. His carefree attitude in the face of increased scrutiny from ransomware groups seems to have finally caught up with him, as demonstrated by recent law enforcement action.

He frequently shared information about his attacks, contradicting the caution exercised by other ransomware groups. Soon, publishers started sharing selfies and videos associated with Matveev, further exposing his activities.

Continued Activity by Russian Hackers in the Crypto Sphere

Russian hackers have consistently been implicated in cryptocurrency-related attacks. In 2022, a Russian national pleaded not guilty to charges of laundering ransom payments from attacks on US infrastructure. Russian entities have also targeted a Ukrainian gas company.

However, not all activities have been overtly malevolent. An anonymous “Robin Hood” attacker has made headlines for stealing funds from Russian law enforcement and donating them to Ukraine.


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