The U.S. Department of the Treasury posted a press release titled: “Treasury Sanctions Russian Ransomware Actor Complicit in Attacks on Police and U.S. Critical Infrastructure”. From the press release:
Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), designated Mikhail Matveev (Matveev) for his role in launching cyberattacks against U.S. law enforcement, businesses, and critical infrastructure. Concurrently, the U.S. District Courts for the District of New Jersey and the District of Columbia unsealed indictments against Matveev. Additionally, the U.S. Department of State announced an award of up to $10 million for information that leads to the arrest and/or conviction of Matveev under its Transnational Organized Crime Rewards Program.
“The United States will not tolerate ransomware attacks against our people and our institutions,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson. “Ransomware actors like Matveev will be held accountable for their crimes, and we will continue to use all available authorities and tools to defend against cyber threats.”
The press release continued: The impacts of ransomware attacks are far-reaching, with victims experiencing the loss and disclosure of sensitive information and disruption of critical services. Russia is a haven for ransomware actors, enabling cybercriminals like Matveev to engage openly in ransomware attacks against U.S. organizations.
According to analysis conducted by Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), 75 percent of ransomware-related incidents reported between July and December 2021 were linked to Russia, its proxies, or persons acting on its behalf. Russia-linked ransomware variants such as Hive, LockBit, and Baby, which Matveev helped to develop and deploy, have been responsible for millions of dollars in losses to victims in the United States and around the world. The Hive ransomware group alone has targeted more than 1,500 victims in over 80 countries, including hospitals, school districts, financial firms, and other critical infrastructure.
The U.S Department of Justice released news titled: “Russian National Charged with Ransomware Attacks Against Critical Infrastructure” From the news:
The Justice Department today unsealed two indictments charging a Russian national and resident with using three different ransomware variants to attack 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…
…On or about June 25, 2020, Matveev and his LockBit coconspirators allegedly deployed LockBit ransomware against a law enforcement agency in Passaic County, New Jersey. Additionally, on or about May 27, 2022, Matveev and his Hive coconspirators allegedly deployed Hive against a nonprofit behavioral healthcare organization headquartered in Mercer County, New Jersey. On April 26, Matveev and his Babuk coconspirators allegedly deployed Babuk against the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D.C…
…Matveev is charged with conspiring to transmit ransom demands, conspiring to damage protected computers, and intentionally damaging protected computers. If convicted, he faces over 20 years in prison…
Engadget reported: In April of 2021, for instance, [Matveev] was linked to a Babuk ransomware attack that saw the computers of the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington DC locked out. Last May, Matveev, whose online pseudonyms include Wazawaka, Uhodiransomwar, m1x, and Boriselcin, was allegedly involved in a Hive ransomware attack that targeted a healthcare NGO in New Jersey.
Engadget also reported that the Department of Justice is offering a reward of up to $10 million for information that leads to the arrest of Matveev.
I always find it interesting when more than one official U.S. Department works together on fighting crime, especially when the crime involves ransomware attacks. Ideally, this coordination should make ransomware thieves think twice before (potentially) ending up in prison.