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 Ukrainian 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 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.
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 Chad Meacham, acting US attorney 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.
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 in all of last year.
With Post wires