Leader of LockBit ransomware gang identified and indicted

by | May 8, 2024

The Department of Justice has announced the indictment of a senior leader of the Russia-based LockBit ransomware group, as part of the ongoing efforts by the U.S. government to pursue individuals involved in the group's cybersecurity attacks in recent years.

Dmitry Yuryevich Khoroshev is facing 26 counts in federal court in New Jersey for his alleged involvement in creating and developing the LockBit group since its inception in September 2019, federal prosecutors revealed on Tuesday.

His confidence in his anonymity was such that he once offered a $10 million reward to anyone who could uncover his identity. However, the US government is now offering a reward of up to $10 million for information that leads to his arrest or conviction.

LockBit, a syndicate group responsible for over 20 percent of the nearly 4,000 global attacks last year, involves ransomware gangs posting stolen data from victims to demand payment.

Dmitry Yuryevich Khoroshev, 31, from Voronezh, Russia, allegedly amassed approximately $100 million extorted from victims for himself. He is accused of orchestrating the design of the LockBit ransomware code, recruiting other group members, and supplying them with the necessary tools to deploy LockBit, according to the DOJ.

The unsealed indictment, revealed on Tuesday, follows the actions of U.S. law enforcement agencies, who, in collaboration with the U.K. National Crime Agency’s Cyber Division, dismantled LockBit in February by taking control of its servers. Through this operation, they managed to access the organization's infrastructure and hinder LockBit's capability to launch attacks and encrypt networks, as per the DOJ.

Information obtained in February reportedly indicates that Khoroshev retained copies of data stolen from ransom-paying victims, despite assuring them that the data would be deleted after payment, the DOJ stated.

Khoroshev is additionally charged with communicating with law enforcement following the February seizure, allegedly requesting the disclosure of his ransomware competitors' identities in exchange for his cooperation, prosecutors revealed. He is facing 26 counts, with a maximum combined penalty of 185 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000.

The U.S. Treasury Department also imposed sanctions against him on Tuesday.

According to the DOJ, in addition to Khoroshev, a total of six LockBit members have been indicted for their alleged involvement in the ransomware attack.

Khoroshev, believed to reside in Russia, is likely to evade capture for the foreseeable future. Historically, the Russian state has never extradited cybercriminals, and the freezing of relations following its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022 has resulted in a near-complete halt of all enforcement actions domestically.


Source: The Hill

Source: The Guardian



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