FBI seizes more than $2.1M in Bitcoin (BTC) from Russian cybercriminal

Sat 04 Dec 2021 ▪ 9h33 ▪ 3 min read - by Rudy Bauer

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) seized more than $2.1 million (~£1.6 million) worth of BTC from a Russian hacker. The cryptocurrency was allegedly obtained through the ransomware programs Gandcrab and Revil.

Details of the 40 BTC seizure operation

Nearly 40 Bitcoins have been seized from a Russian resident in a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) operation, Bitcoin.com reports. The suspect is believed to be linked to Revil and Gandcrab ransomware. This was revealed through a court document released a few days ago.

The forfeiture complaint states that the United States seized 39.89138522 BTC from the Exodus wallet. The cryptocurrency is in the custody of the Dallas office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. At the time of writing, the Bitcoin has a value of $53,002, which represents more than $2.1 million in confiscated currency.

The operation was carried out as early as 3rd August, but details are only now emerging. The FBI did not disclose exactly how the wallet was accessed, but a court document explains that the wallet contained funds obtained in an extortion racket using Revil software. These assets belonged to an affiliate identified as Aleksandr Sikerin (aka Alexander Sikerin and Oleksandr Sikerin). It turned out that the e-mail address engfog1337@gmail.com was registered to him. According to Bleeping Computer, the name “Engfog” in the e-mail is associated with a notorious Gandcrab and Revil (Sodinokibi) affiliate known as “Lalartu”.

Ransomware crackdown intensified

Gandcrab and Revil are well-known ransomware. Their operators collaborate with third-party hackers, with whom they then share the proceeds. Operators receive between 20% and 30% of the ransom.

More recently, the US Department of Justice announced the seizure of $6.1 million (~£4.6 million) from Yevgeniy Polyanin. This Russian was also “charged with deploying Sodinokibi/Revil ransomware”. This case involved attacks on businesses and government agencies in the United States.

The US government has recently stepped up its fight against ransomware. In a related development, the Treasury Department imposed sanctions on two cryptocurrency exchanges that were carrying out ransomware transactions.

More and more news about ransom demands has been appearing lately. Frequently there are very large sums involved. Hopefully, the authorities can solve this problem, since it is not only large organisations that may face this problem, but also each and every one of us.

Rudy Bauer

Photographe, Vidéaste, webdesigner et enfin rédacteur pour CoinTribune: l'image, le digital et la blockchain sont mon dada.

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