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Hacker Rabotnik Sentenced to More Than 13 Years: US Crackdown on $700 Million Ransomware Scheme Could Signal Tough Stance on Crypto Crime

Published May 2, 2024 11:12 AM
Teuta Franjkovic
Published May 2, 2024 11:12 AM
By Teuta Franjkovic
Verified by Peter Henn

  Key Takeaways

  • Yaroslav Vasinskyi, AKA Rabotnik, received a 13-year prison sentence for orchestrating thousands of ransomware attacks.
  • The sentencing reflects American efforts against ransomware after it took down the REvil ransomware platform in collaboration with Russia.
  • US authorities seized millions in crypto and fiat money, while Vasinskyi faces millions in restitution payments.

Yaroslav Vasinskyi, a Ukrainian hacker who goes by the alias Rabotnik, has been jailed for 13 years  and seven months.

The Department of Justice announced on Wednesday that Vasinskyi took part in orchestrating more than 2,500 ransomware attacks. The hacker also demanded more than $700 million in ransom.

REvil Hacker Rabotnik Sentenced: US Ramps Up Fight Against Ransomware

This sentencing is part of a broader crackdown on ransomware groups, a commitment  made by US President Joe Biden in November 2021 following a significant attack by the REvil ransomware project. The hackers demanded $70 million in Bitcoin after attacking  Miami-based software provider Kaseya.

In response to US requests, Russian authorities conducted a raid in March 2022 that led to the dismantling of REvil.

According to  Attorney General Merrick B. Garland:

“As this sentencing shows, the Justice Department is working with our international partners and using all tools at our disposal to identify cybercriminals, capture their illicit profits, and hold them accountable for their crimes.”

Global Ransomware Attack Nets US Hacker Conviction, Millions Seized

Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco stated that by using the REvil ransomware variant, the defendant targeted victims globally, demanding hundreds of millions of dollars from American entities.

She emphasized  the DOJ’s dedication to prosecuting those who target American victims and disrupting the wider cybercrime ecosystem. In 2021, CNN reported Vasinskyi was indicted together with Yevgeniy Polyanin, a fellow REvil operative from Russia.

Monaco also said :

“Deploying the REvil ransomware variant, the defendant reached out across the globe to demand hundreds of millions of dollars from US victims.”

During their investigation, American authorities seized at least $6 million in funds linked to ransom payments which Polyanin received. Additionally, in 2021, the Treasury Department placed sanctions on Vasinskyi and Polyanin, as well as a cryptocurrency exchange accused of facilitating financial transactions for ransomware criminals.

Ransomware Hacker Faces $16 Million Bill After Guilty Plea

Rabotnik, 24, has been ordered to pay  over $16 million in restitution as part of his affiliation with groups using Sodinokibi or REvil ransomware to demand cryptocurrency payments and employ mixing services to obscure their criminal proceeds.

Previously extradited to the US from Poland, he pleaded guilty to an 11-count indictment. His charges included:

  • Conspiracy to commit fraud and related activity in connection with computers.
  • Damage to protected computers.
  • onspiracy to commit money laundering.

In 2023, the DOJ seized nearly 40 Bitcoin, worth about $2.3 million. This came together with $6.1 million in funds linked to ransom payments received by his co-conspirators.

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