Editor's Pick 02-05-2024 14:20 9 Views

Ukrainian Cybercriminal “Rabotnik” Sentenced to 13 Years for Orchestrating $700M Worth of Ransomware Attacks

Yaroslav Vasinskyi, a Ukrainian national known as “Rabotnik,” has been handed a prison sentence of 13 years and seven months for his role in ransomware attacks.

According to a Wednesday Department of Justice announcement, Vasinskyi conducted over 2,500 ransomware attacks, demanding over $700 million in ransom payments. 

The sentencing comes in the wake of a high-profile incident involving the hacking of Miami-based software provider Kaseya. The case examines the ransomware group REvil, which demanded a staggering $70 million in Bitcoin as ransom. 

Following the incident, Russian authorities, at the request of the United States, conducted a raid in March 2022. This led to the dismantling of the REvil group.

Rabotnik Ordered to Pay $16M 

Rabotnik, a 24-year-old cybercriminal, has been ordered to pay restitution amounting to over $16 million. 

He acted as an affiliate of groups employing the Sodinokibi or REvil ransomware variant. The groups used cryptocurrency payments and mixing services to conceal their unlawfully obtained funds.

These are the last publicly posted images of Yaroslav Vasinskyi.

He was approx. 19 years old in these pictures.

He was arrested at approx. 22 years old.

He was sentenced at approx. age 25 years old.

He will be released from prison when he is approx. 38 years old.

He made… pic.twitter.com/qtFvFzX5PH

— vx-underground (@vxunderground) May 1, 2024

Previously, Yaroslav Vasinskyi was extradited from Poland to the United States and subsequently pleaded guilty to an 11-count indictment. 

The charges against him included conspiracy to commit fraud and related activity in connection with computers, damage to protected computers, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

“As this sentencing shows, the Justice Department is working with our international partners and using all tools at our disposal to identify cybercriminals, capture their illicit profits, and hold them accountable for their crimes,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland.

In 2023, the Department of Justice seized nearly 40 Bitcoin, currently valued at approximately $2.3 million, along with $6.1 million in funds that could be traced back to ransom payments received by other individuals involved in the conspiracy.

US Government Owns Over $5 Billion Bitcoin

The U.S. government has become one of the largest holders of Bitcoin, acquiring approximately 200,000 coins (worth around $5 billion) through seizures related to criminal activities.

The digital assets were seized from cybercriminals and darknet markets and are securely stored offline in encrypted hardware wallets controlled by various federal agencies, including the Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

The fate of the U.S. government’s Bitcoin holdings has sparked curiosity among crypto traders.

Any decision to sell these assets could potentially impact prices and send ripples throughout the trillion-dollar digital asset market.

However, the government’s approach is not driven by market speculation or timing.

Instead, the accumulation of BTC is a byproduct of the lengthy legal process of confiscating and managing these assets.

Jarod Koopman, the executive director of the IRS’s cyber and forensics services section, told the Wall Street Journal that the government does not actively trade or time the market.

Instead, their actions are dictated by the timing of the legal process.

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