US, UK and Australia impose sanctions on Russian LockBit hacker

The US, UK and Australia have all imposed sanctions on Russian national Dmitry Khoroshev, who they believe leads the LockBit hacker group, US and UK government websites said Tuesday.

Khoroshev, 31, lives in the city of Voronezh in western Russia, the US Treasury Department said, adding that he is being charged on multiple counts of conspiracy to commit fraud and extortion.

The UK authorities believe the group to be responsible for a quarter of all cyber-extortion attacks carried out worldwide in the past year. LockBit has extorted billions of dollars from businesses and individuals, after stealing sensitive online data, the British government said.

Dmitry Khoroshev. Photo: Social media

Dmitry Khoroshev. Photo: Social media

The US authorities alleged that Khoroshev had received at least $100 million (€93 million) worth of Bitcoin from his ransomware dealings, and that the total losses incurred by victims amounted to $500 million (€466 million). The US Department of Justice said that over 2,500 people globally had been victims of LockBit.

The US State Department has offered a reward of up to $10 million for information leading to Khoroshev’s arrest. The US has also named Ruslan Astamirov, Mikhail Vasilyev and Mikhail Matveyev as other wanted members of the group.

LockBit hackers developed a virus of the same name, which encrypts files on infected computers, which the group then demands payment to unlock in so-called ransomware attacks.

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