Last week, the U.S. Justice Department announced charges against Ruslan Magomedovich Astamirov, a Russian national, for his involvement in deploying numerous LockBit ransomware and other cyberattacks. According to the complaint, LockBit actors have executed over 1,400 attacks against victims in the United States and around the world, issuing over $100 million in ransom demands and receiving at least as much as tens of millions of dollars in actual ransom payments made in the form of bitcoin. In at least one circumstance, law enforcement was able to trace a portion of a victim’s ransom payment to a virtual currency address in Astamirov’s control.
The announcement follows LockBit-related charges in two other cases from the District of New Jersey. In November 2022, the department announced criminal charges against Mikhail Vasiliev, a dual Russian and Canadian national, who is currently in custody in Canada awaiting extradition to the United States. In May 2023, DOJ announced the indictment of Mikhail Pavlovich Matveev, for his alleged participation in separate conspiracies to deploy LockBit, Babuk, and Hive ransomware variants against victims in the United States and abroad.
This case is another great example of federal, state and global cooperation and coordination between the U.S. DOJ, FBI, Jersey City Police Department, New Jersey State Police, IRS-Criminal Investigation, Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre, Eurojust, National Police Agency of Japan, France’s Gendarmerie Nationale Cyberspace Command, the National Crime Agency and South West Regional Organized Crime Unit of the United Kingdom, Kantonspolizei Zürich of Switzerland, Landeskriminalamt Schleswig-Holstein and the Bundeskriminalamt of Germany, and Swedish Police Authority of Sweden.
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