US authorities confiscated $2.3 million (about Rs 17 crores) in cryptocurrencies linked to the notorious hacker organisation ReVil. The defendant has been identified as a Russian national suspected of being linked to the ransomware group REvil.
REvil ransomware is a file-encrypting malware that encrypts files and deletes ransom requests after infection. The message asks that the victim pay a Bitcoin ransom, and if the ransom is not paid in a timely manner, the demand will double. Affiliates of the ransomware group are in charge of frontline hacking and data theft from victims’ computers.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) seized a cryptocurrency wallet containing 40 Bitcoin from Aleksandr Sikerin, an alleged affiliate of REvil, according to a report by Bleeping Computer on Tuesday.
The complaint also stated that Sikerin’s last known residence was in St. Petersburg, Russia, as CNN reported. The complaint reads, “The United States of America files this verified complaint in rem against 39.89138522 Bitcoin Seized From Exodus Wallet (“the Defendant Property”) that is now located and in the custody and management of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) Dallas Division, One Justice Way, Dallas Texas.”
The US Justice Department stated last month that it had seized more than $6 million in ransom payments paid to Yevgeniy Polyanin, another Russian resident linked to REvil. Around 3,000 ransomware attacks had been carried out by the perpetrator.
Meanwhile, the FBI issued a warning in November about fraudsters who use Bitcoin ATMs and QR codes to deceive unwary people.
In a recently issued Public Service Announcement (PSA), the FBI stated that it has seen an uptick in scammers guiding victims to complete financial transactions via physical bitcoin ATMs and digital QR codes.
“Such schemes include online impersonation schemes (in which a scammer impersonates a known entity such as the government, law enforcement, a legal office, or a utility company), romance schemes (in which a scammer establishes an online relationship with a victim by creating a false sense of intimacy and dependency), and lottery schemes (in which a scammer falsely convinces a victim that they have won an award and then demands payment of lottery fees),” according to the PSA.