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U.S. Department of Justice Accuses Russian National of Involvement in Cryptocurrency Ransomware Plot

Alleged Cybercriminal Faces Charges for Targeting U.S. Infrastructure

Thu, 18 May 2023, 13:04 pm UTC

In a major turn of events, signaling the continuous specter of digital villainy, the U.S. Department of Justice has recently lodged accusations against an individual of Russian origin, presumed to have a substantial role in a sinister plot involving cryptocurrency ransomware, squarely aimed at the vulnerable sectors of U.S. infrastructure.

Emphasizing the seriousness of this matter, the Justice Department, on May 16, publicized the release of two incriminating charges against the accused, unveiling a complex network of illicit activities that pose considerable risk to the integrity of crucial services and the country's safety.

Unmasked by the charges, the alleged culprit, Mikhail Pavlovich Matveev, has been known to operate under a collection of pseudonyms, including Uhodiransomwar, m1x, and Wazawaka.

In line with the announcement made by the Justice Department, it was alleged that Matveev's malicious campaign was diversified, touching various sectors across the continental U.S. Among the victims were the healthcare industry, law enforcement agencies based in D.C. and New Jersey, and various other sectors.

In an audacious move, U.S. federal officials declared a staggering $10 million bounty for credible intelligence that could potentially lead to the apprehension of Matveev on Tuesday. Court filings revealed that Matveev stands accused of coordinating ransom notes, scheming to inflict harm on safeguarded computer systems, and willfully damaging such protected systems.

If proven guilty, the repercussions could lead Matveev to serve a sentence of over two decades in prison. The pernicious campaign, dating back to 2020, reportedly involved ransomware variants such as LockBit, Babuk, and Hive. Reports suggest Matveev exacted a ransom upwards of $400 million and successfully appropriated $200 million.

This is not the first crypto-based heist. Cases have been recorded since the emergence of blockchain technology and the use case of Bitcoin.

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