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LockBit ransomware mastermind revealed, in joint effort involving Australia | #ransomware | #cybercrime


Authorities said the group, many of whose members are based in Russia, was responsible for a quarter of all ransomware attacks globally last year. They targeted individuals, small businesses, critical infrastructure, hospitals, schools, corporations, non-profit organisations, and government and law enforcement agencies. Its high-profile victims included aerospace company Boeing.

Russian national Dmitry Yuryevich Khoroshev revealed in a poster issued by the UK National Crime Agency.

US Attorney Philip R. Sellinger said Khoroshev had “conceived, developed, and administered” the group, wreaking havoc and causing billions of dollars in damage to thousands of victims around the globe.

“He thought he could do so hidden by his notorious moniker ‘LockBitSupp,’ anonymous and free of any consequence, while he personally pocketed $100 million extorted from LockBit’s victims,” Sellinger said. “Through relentless investigation and coordination with our partners… abroad, we have proven him and his co-conspirators wrong.”

Khoroshev, who is believed to be in Russia, faces 26 criminal charges in New Jersey federal court, including fraud, extortion, and damaging protected computers. In total, the charges carry a maximum penalty of 185 years in prison. He will now be subject to a series of asset freezes and travel bans.

But he is likely to remain at large for some time. Moscow has never formally extradited cybercriminals, and the freezing of relations after its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022 led to a near-total cessation of all enforcement action domestically.

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Federal Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil, who is responsible for cybersecurity, said the damage done by LockBit in Australia was significant.

“For too long, criminals like those behind LockBit have hidden in the shadows,” she said. “Our government is changing that. Hunting down cyber criminals by working with our international partners to hack the hackers and punishing them where we can.”

Khoroshev is the sixth individual charged for his role in the LockBit operation. Previously, charges were announced against Mikhail Vasiliev, Mikhail Matveev, Ruslan Magomedovich Astamirov, Artur Sungatov, and Ivan Kondratyev.

Agencies published wanted poster on Wednesday promising a $10 million award for information that would lead to Khoroshev’s arrest.

Khoroshev did not respond to messages sent to email addresses which were publicly listed in the sanctions.

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