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Police in Canada detain an alleged operator of the LockBit ransomware gang

lockbit ransomware leader detained

One of the most notorious ransomware operators in the world, according to Canadian police, is behind the LockBit ransomware gang. He was detained by Canadian authorities, The organisation may suffer a great deal if the arrest is confirmed to be real.

The French National Gendarmerie (Gendarmerie Nationale) led the investigation with assistance from Europol, the RCMP, and the FBI, according to a news release from the European Multidisciplinary Platform Against Criminal Threats (EMPACT), which said the man was apprehended on October 26 in an unnamed Ontario city.

According to the announcement, the 33-year-old Russian national is suspected of using the LockBit ransomware to assault vital infrastructure and significant industrial organisations across the globe. He is infamous for making outrageous ransom demands that range from $5 to €70 million.

The man was not named by EMPACT, However, Mikhail Vasiliev, 33, of Bradford, Ontario, was reported to be detained in Canada and awaiting extradition to the US in a statement from the US Justice Department. Less over an hour's drive to the north of Toronto is the town of Bradford, with a population of 24,000.

According to the U.S. Justice Department, Vasiliev is accused with conspiring to purposefully harm protected systems and to send ransom demands. He might spend up to five years in prison if found guilty.

According to U.S. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco, "this arrest is the culmination of more than two and a half years of investigation into the LockBit ransomware gang, which has affected people in the United States and around the world." Additionally, it is the outcome of the more than ten years of expertise that FBI agents, Justice Department prosecutors, and our international partners have accumulated in destroying cyber threats. Let this serve as yet another reminder to ransomware developers that the Department of Justice will keep thwarting online threats and holding offenders accountable in collaboration with partners around the world. We will employ every weapon at our disposal, together with our allies, to stop, dissuade, and punish cyber-criminals.

According to the press release, this arrest is a follow-up to an action that was taken in Ukraine in October that resulted in the detention of two of his associates.

According to investigators, eight computers, 32 external hard drives, and €400,000 worth of cryptocurrencies were seized during the arrest by Canadian police.

According to Brett Callow, a security researcher with Emsisoft based in British Columbia, the arrest is important. "Ransomware groups do not operate in a vacuum; they collaborate with access brokers, money launderers, and other criminals. This individual may be a key source of information that leads to the arrest of other individuals. Also, LockBit might be done for good at this point as other crooks will stop trusting the operation since it has been compromised.

The most prevalent ransomware in the globe, according to BlackBerry researchers, is LockBit, which has been connected to more cyberattacks than any other ransomware this year.

According to BlackBerry, the average ransom paid by LockBit victims is around $85,000, indicating that LockBit mostly targets small- to medium-sized businesses.

LockBit originally appeared in September of 2019. LockBit has changed since then: LockBit 2.0 first emerged in 2021, and LockBit 3.0, the most recent version, was found in June 2022.

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Nov. 17, 2022

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