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Sebastien Vachon-Desjardins, an ex-employee with the Canadian government, has been extradited to the US following the seizure of $29m worth of digital assets about the NetWalker ransomware.

The DoJ Statement On The Matter

The US DoJ charges the former Canadian employee on various counts due to his connection in the NetWalker scam. Some counts include intentional damage to a protected computer and conspiracy to commit computer and wire fraud. As indicated by the DoJ, the US government is willing to retain only $1m of the $29m seized from the proceeds of the committed crime.

Keneth A. Polite Jr. (an assistant attorney general) remarked that “regardless of the location of the allegedly seized funds, we will deploy all legal means to ensure that the perpetrators of this ransomware forfeit all looted funds. We intend to keep working with our Canadian counterparts and other relevant authorities to achieve this aim.”

He further stated that “we continue to seize crypto ransoms and frustrate the efforts of ransomware players, especially as they use cryptos to hide the ransom they’ve collected from law enforcement agencies.”

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NetWalker And Crypto Ransom

The operation of the NetWalker was more pronounced during the heat of the covid-19 pandemic when it targeted individuals from several sectors (particularly, law enforcement agents, commercial entities, and healthcare). International law enforcement agents alleged that NetWalker hackers were behind the shut-down of Argentinian international borders in October 2020. The hackers demanded a ransom of $4.5m in BTC at that time.

Within the same month, the attackers hacked the database of Pakistan’s biggest power producer and demanded a ransom of $8.5m in BTC to avoid releasing the data to the public. These incidents and other unpopular similar ones are the reasons for the demand for a stricter crypto regulation to curb ransomware attacks since the government can track such ransom payments.

$225m Crypto Ransom Demand: Gunman Dies By A Cop Car

Crane Hassold (ex-FBI agent and a top-level executive with abnormal security (a threat intelligence firm)) told Heraldsheets that the current ransomware industry thrives primarily because of cryptocurrencies. Hassold’s opinion might be bolstered by the deadly situation at an Amsterdam Apple store earlier this week.

On March 8, a gunman entered Apple’s Amsterdam store and immediately held a Briton hostage. Even though he demanded to be paid $225m in crypto, he neither specified the crypto nor gave his wallet address to receive the payment.

However, after several hours of holding the Briton hostage, the criminal demanded water from the police. But the hostage made a run for safety as the criminal was receiving his water from the police robot.

Eventually, Police officers knocked down the assailant with their vehicle while pursuing his hostage.

Despite receiving treatment for the injuries sustained at the hospital, the gunman (later identified as a 27-year old Bulgarian named Abdel Rahman Akkad) died before facing charges for his crimes. This incident also proves Hassold right, as many criminals are now requesting crypto payments to get away with the funds they receive when they commit various crimes. 

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Alicia Maher

By Alicia Maher

Alicia Maher is an accomplished news writer with a passion for storytelling. With years of experience in the field, she is skilled at delivering accurate, engaging, and insightful news coverage to her audience.