Authorities in Canada have arrested an alleged member of the LockBit ransomware gang, according to the Department of Justice. Mikhail Vasiliev, a dual Russian-Canadian citizen, is awaiting extradition to the US, where he is charged with conspiracy to intentionally damage protected computers and to transmit ransom demands. Vasiliev faces a prison sentence of up to five years and a fine of up to $250,000 if he is convicted.
According to the complaint, the LockBit ransomware first emerged around January 2020, and the FBI has been investigating those behind it since March of that year. The DOJ claims LockBit is "one of the most active and destructive ransomware variants in the world," having claimed at least 1,000 victims, including a Holiday Inn hotel in Turkey. The agency added that members of the LockBit gang have demanded at least $100 million in total ransom payments. The gang has claimed tens of millions of dollars from victims, according to the DOJ.
“This arrest is the result of over two-and-a-half years of investigation into the LockBit ransomware group, which has harmed victims in the United States and around the world,” deputy attorney general Lisa O. Monaco said in a statement. “Let this be yet another warning to ransomware actors: working with partners around the world, the Department of Justice will continue to disrupt cyber threats and hold perpetrators to account. With our partners, we will use every available tool to disrupt, deter and punish cyber criminals.”