Alleged Russian Ransomware Launderer Pleads Not Guilty in US Court

Ransomware Payments Hit At Least $600M in 2021: Chainalysis Report

A Russian national has pleaded not guilty to laundering ransom payments of more than $400,000 extorted from hospitals and healthcare providers in the U.S.

Denis Mihaqloviv Dubnikov, 29, appeared before a court in Oregon after being extradited from the Netherlands. He pleaded not guilty to concealing cryptocurrencies extorted from the victims of Ryuk ransomware attacks between Aug 2018 and Aug 2021.

If found guilty, he could face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ).

The Ryuk ransomware attacks impacted several U.S. hospitals, including Sky Lakes Medical Center in Klamath Falls, Oregon. According to the indictment, there were multiple victims in Oregon.

According to a report by the Seattle Times, the accused, and his accomplices, are accused of laundering ransom payments from victims of the attacks as part of a wider scheme involving at least $70 million.

A five-day trial is scheduled to begin on Oct 4.

Treasury sanctions exchange over ransomware attack 

Last Sept the United States Treasury Department announced sanctions against the Suex crypto exchange for its alleged role in a ransomware attack. 

According to the officials, the sanctions were the first against a digital currency exchange for ransomware activities.

The Treasury said in 2020 alone, ransomware attacks equaled over $400 million, four times the amount of the previous year. In such attacks, hackers often halt access to major programs in return for crypto, such as Bitcoin (BTC). 

The U.S. government has introduced new guidelines since the major cyberattacks. It requires government contractors and critical infrastructure companies to disclose cyberattacks under a safety net from legal action. 

The current presidential administration has made cybersecurity a major issue. The DOJ established a committee to address crypto regulation and the war on ransomware attacks.

Russian cybercriminals leak data

After siding with Russia in the Ukrainian conflict, one of the most successful ransomware outfits was hit by a massive leak of internal data.

Conti, a presumed Russian cybercriminal group, recently leaked data which included information about their attack infrastructure, edited chat logs, as well as Bitcoin addresses. 

The group’s success is largely due to its ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) business model. They provide affiliates with malware in exchange for a percentage of the ransom, which has been adopted by other ransomware groups.

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