Technology

The US charges the LockBit ransomware ringleader and offers a $10 million reward

Khoroshev has reportedly been involved with LockBit since it first surfaced in September 2019. Over the years, LockBit ransomware attacks claimed over 2,500 victims in at least 120 countries, with Khoroshev and other co-conspirators reportedly collecting at least $500 million in ransoms.

In February, law enforcement agencies met in the US and UK seized the websites and servers used by LockBit and even received the keys that they were able to use to help organizations regain access to their data. At the time, Artur Sungatov and Ivan Kondratyev were also accused of using LockBit against victims in the United States.

Khoroshev is said to have taken 20 percent of every ransom payment extorted from victims and also operated the group’s data leak site. Law enforcement discovered that Khoroshev retained victims’ stolen data even after the group “falsely promised” to delete it upon receipt of payment.

“Today’s indictment marks a significant milestone in the LockBit investigation and prosecution, which has already led to charges against five additional LockBit partners – two of whom are in custody awaiting trial – and significant disruption to the now-discredited LockBit business. “The operation was conducted,” U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger for the District of New Jersey said in a statement.

Khoroshev faces 26 charges – including one count of conspiracy to commit fraud and eight counts of extortion to damage a protected computer – and a prison sentence of up to 185 years. In addition to sanctioning Khoroshev, the government is offering a $10 million reward for information that helps law enforcement capture him.

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