US charges two men over ransomware attacks, seizes $6M

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US charges two men over ransomware attacks, seizes $6M

US law enforcement officers seized more than $6 million in ransom payments and charged a Ukrainian and a Russian in connection with a series of ransomware attacks that hobbled businesses around the world on the Fourth of July, the Justice Department said Monday.​

Yaroslav Vasinskyi, a Ukranian who was arrested in Poland last month, and Russian Yevgeniy Polyanin are accused of being part of the REvil ransomware gang that carried out cyber attacks that have cost US companies millions of dollars.

Vasinskyi deployed REvil ransomware to target Kaseya, a Florida-based software company, that eventually infected as many as 1,500 businesses around the globe on July 4.

The REvil software has also been linked to the June ransomware attack against Brazil-based JBS SA, causing the company to temporarily close down five plants and disrupting nearly 20 percent of America’s beef production.

the wanted poster for Russian Yevgeniy Polyanin
Attorney General Merrick Garland and other top officials announced charges against Russian Yevgeniy Polyanin.
FBI via AP

The two men were also charged with conspiracy to commit fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering, among other charges. 

The Treasury Department said Vasinskyi, 22, who is being held in Poland, and Polyanin, 28, who is at large, also face sanctions for the ransomware attacks as does Chatex, a virtual currency exchange, “for facilitating financial transactions for ransomware actors.”

The government seized $6.1 million from Polyanin. 

This image released by the FBI, Monday, Nov. 8, 2021 in Washington, shows the wanted poster for Russian Yevgeniy Polyanin.
Yevgeniy Polyanin is allegedly part of the REvil ransomware gang.
FBI via AP

Vasinslyi’s arrest and the charges against Polyanin are the result of coordination among the US and international governments, and the private sector, FBI Director Christopher Wray said. 

“These two defendants deployed some of the internet’s most virulent code, authored by REvil, to hijack victim computers,” said ​acting U.S. Attorney Chad Meacham for the Northern District of Texas​, where many of the charges were filed​. 

​European authorities also announced the arrest of two others in Romania with ties to the REvil ransomware gang. 

FBI Director Christopher Wray speaks at a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington, Monday, Nov. 8, 2021.
FBI Director Christopher Wray speaks at a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington, Monday, Nov. 8, 2021.
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Ransomware attacks are on the rise, the Treasury Department said, noting that ransomware payments for the first half of 2021 have reached $590 million, compared to $416 million paid out all of last year. 

With Post wires

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