US indicates Russian LockBit ransomware ringleader with $10 million reward

Ransomware has become quite common these days due to the high probability of victims paying to recover their data. The perpetrators count on this when they select victims and deploy their attacks. One of the most notorious ransomware, LockBit, was allegedly created and made highly destructive by 31-year-old Dmitry Yuryevich Khoroshev, as indicated by the US.

The US Department of Justice unsealed charges against the Russian national allegedly involved in the LockBit ransomware group. The Justice Department alleged that Dmitry Yuryevich Khoroshev was the developer and administrator of the aforementioned group since its inception in September 2019.

How LockBit amassed over $500 million in ransom payments

The list of victims of the LockBit ransomware groups included individuals, small businesses, multinational corporations, hospitals, schools, nonprofit organizations, critical infrastructure, and government and law-enforcement agencies. As no one was safe, LockBit ransomware became one of the most feared groups.

Since 2019, Khoroshev and his partners in crime allegedly managed to incur a cost of at least $500 million in ransom payments to their victims. This cost does not include the billions of dollars in losses due to lost revenue, incident response, and recovery.

Furthermore, LockBit has allegedly amassed over 2,500 victims in at least 120 countries. This includes 1,800 victims in the US. LockBit was allegedly created by Khoroshev to be a “ransomware-as-a-service” (RaaS).

While Khoroshev developed and maintained the LockBit group and code, other members of the groups were recruited to deploy the ransomware. Khoroshev received a 20% share of each ransom payment and the affiliates received the remaining 80%.

Khoroshev and his affiliates promised victims their stolen data would be deleted after receiving the ransom payment. However, the LockBit infrastructure seized by law enforcement showed Khoroshev kept copies of stolen data. This was even after the victims paid the ransom.

The outcome of the investigation against LockBit ransomware

In May 2023 Mikhail Matveev was charged with deploying various ransomware variants, including LockBit, against victims throughout the United States. There is currently a reward of up to $10 million through the U.S. Department of State’s Transnational Organized Crime (TOC) rewards program for Matveev. Anyone who can assist in apprehending the alleged ringleader can obtain a piece of the reward. This showcases how much of a threat the LockBit ransomware was and how much damage it did.

In February 2024 Russian nationals Artur Sungatov and Ivan Kondratyev were charged against numerous victims in the United States. The alleged ringleader of the whole LockBit ransomware fiasco who the US indicated to be Dmitry Yuryevich Khoroshev, faces 26 charges, up to 185 years in prison, and the US State Department offers a reward of up to $10 million for help in his apprehension.

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