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Cybercriminal Who Siphoned off Millions Sentenced to 13 Years of Prison, Ordered to Pay $16 Million

Yaroslav Vasinskyi played a role in more than 2,500 ransomware attacks that cost targeted organizations and individuals more than $700 million. 
PUBLISHED MAY 6, 2024
Cover Image Source: Computer hacker silhouette againt blue binary code background (representative image) | Getty Images
Cover Image Source: Computer hacker silhouette againt blue binary code background (representative image) | Getty Images

A Ukrainian hacker has been sentenced to 13 years and seven months in prison and has been ordered to pay $16 million for his involvement with the REvil ransomware group, per Cyber Daily. Yaroslav Vasinskyi, also known as Rabotnik, played a role in over 2,500 ransomware attacks that cost targeted organizations and individuals more than $700 million. “Then they demanded over $700 million in ransom payments and threatened to publicly disclose victims’ data if they refused to pay," said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri, head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. The hacker reportedly conducted thousands of attacks using the Sodinokibi/REvil ransomware which successfully encrypted the victim's systems and demanded payments in return for the decryption key. The hacker and other hackers used tactics like double extortion to steal sensitive information from the systems, allowing them to blackmail any victims who refused to pay up.

The seal of the F.B.I. hangs in the Flag Room at the bureau's headquaters | Getty Images | Photo by Chip Somodevilla
The seal of the F.B.I. hangs in the Flag Room at the bureau's headquarters | Getty Images | Photo by Chip Somodevilla

"Deploying the REvil ransomware variant, the defendant reached out across the globe to demand hundreds of millions of dollars from US victims," Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said in a statement.

“But this case shows the Justice Department’s reach is also global—working with our international partners, we are bringing to justice those who target U.S. victims, and we are disrupting the broader cybercrime ecosystem," Monaco added.

Vasinskyi, 24, was arrested on Poland's border with Ukraine on October 8, 2021, and was extradited to Dallas, Texas, in March 2022. He later pleaded to an 11-counting indictment charging him with conspiracy to commit fraud and related activity in connection with computers, damage to protected computers, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

"As cybercriminals work together to deploy these attacks, law enforcement throughout the United States stands ready to dismantle their criminal enterprises. The dedicated prosecutors from the Northern District of Texas and the skilled agents at the FBI Dallas Field Office proved once again today to ransomware actors everywhere: When you hit targets in the United States, the Justice Department and its partners will come after you," said U.S. Attorney Leigha Simonton for the Northern District of Texas.

As per the court documents, the hackers demanded all the ransom payments in cryptocurrency and used cryptocurrency exchangers and mixing services to hide their gains. Moreover, they also exposed their victims’ data when victims would not pay ransom demands.

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko: https://www.pexels.com/photo/man-in-black-hoodie-eating-his-snack-in-front-of-the-computer-5380678/
Cybercriminal (representative image) | Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko | Pexels

"Yaroslav Vasinskyi and his co-conspirators hacked into thousands of computers around the world and encrypted them with ransomware," Nicole M. Argentieri added, via DOJ. Moreover, the DOJ also found the final forfeiture of millions of dollars worth of ransom payments obtained through two related civil forfeiture cases that included 39.89138522 Bitcoin and $6.1 million in U.S. dollar funds traceable to other members of this conspiracy.



The case was investigated by the FBI and the Justice Department worked with Polish authorities to successfully get hold of Vasinskyi. "Today, the FBI’s close collaboration with our worldwide partners has again ensured that a cybercriminal who thought he was beyond our reach faces the consequences of his actions," said FBI Director Christopher Wray.

"We will continue to relentlessly pursue cyber criminals like Vasinksyi wherever they may hide while we disrupt their criminal schemes, seize their money and infrastructure, and target their enablers and criminal associates to the fullest extent of the law," he concluded.

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