One of LockBit’s alleged ringleaders has been arrested in Ontario, Canada and is on his way to the US to face charges related to ransomware attacks against at least a thousand victims, according to the Department of Justice.
Dual Russian-Canadian citizen Mikhail Vasiliev is accused of being behind LockBit ransomware, which first emerged in January 2020 and has grown into one of the most widely used variants in the world. According to the DOJ, members of the ransomware group have demanded at least $100 million in ransoms collectively, ultimately successfully extorting tens of millions from their victims.
Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco said in a statement about the charges that the DOJ hopes the arrest sends a clear message to other cybercriminals.
“This arrest is the result of over two-and-a-half-years of investigation into the LockBit ransomware group, which has harmed victims in the United States and around the world,” Monaco said. “Let this be yet another warning to ransomware actors: working with partners around the world, the Department of Justice will continue to disrupt cyber threats and hold perpetrators to account. With our partners, we will use every available tool to disrupt, deter, and punish cybercriminals.”