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US Announces $10 Mln Bounty For Russia-based LockBit Ransomware Mastermind | #ransomware | #cybercrime


The U.S. Department of State has announced a reward of up to $10 million for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of Russian national Dmitry Yuryevich Khoroshev, the mastermind of LockBit, one of the world’s most dangerous ransomware organizations.

The U.S. Treasury imposed sanctions on Khoroshev for his role in developing and distributing LockBit ransomware.

The United Kingdom and Australia are also announcing the designation of Khoroshev.

The U.S. Justice Department unsealed two dozen criminal charges against Khoroshev for his alleged role as the creator, developer, and administrator of the LockBit ransomware group from its inception in September 2019. A 26-count indictment was returned by a grand jury in the District of New Jersey.

Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson said, “The United States, in close coordination with our British and Australian partners, will continue to hold accountable the individuals responsible for these disruptive and threatening activities.”

The U.S. Government had recently took actions against Russian cybercriminals involved in ransomware, including the disruption of the LockBit ransomware infrastructure and sanctions against LockBit group affiliates.

The Russia-based LockBit is one of the most active ransomware groups in the world and is best known for its ransomware variant of the same name. According to the Department of Justice, LockBit has targeted over 2,500 victims worldwide and is alleged to have received more than $500 million in ransom payments. Since January 2020, affiliates using LockBit have attacked organizations across a number of critical infrastructure sectors, including financial services, education, emergency services, and healthcare.

LockBit operates on a Ransomware-as-a-Service model, where the group licenses its ransomware software to affiliated cybercriminals in exchange for payment, including a percentage of the paid ransoms.

LockBit is known for its double extortion tactics, where its cybercriminals exfiltrate large amounts of data from its victims before encrypting the victim’s computer systems and demanding ransom payments.

Ransomware is a type of malicious software that prevents a user from accessing computer files, systems, or networks until a ransom is paid for their return. Ransomware incidents can cause costly disruptions to operations and the loss of critical information and data.

Khoroshev has facilitated the upgrading of the LockBit infrastructure, recruited new developers for the ransomware, and managed LockBit affiliates. He is also responsible for LockBit’s efforts to continue operations after their disruption by the U.S. and its allies earlier this year.

The Justice Department urged victims targeted by this malware to contact the FBI at https://lockbitvictims.ic3.gov/ to enable law enforcement to determine whether affected systems can be successfully decrypted.

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