Ukrainian Man Convicted For Extorting $700M in Ransomware Attacks

A Ukrainian national was sentenced to over 13 years in federal prison last week for his role in more than 2,500 ransomware attacks in which the victims were ordered to pay ransoms amounting to over $700 million.

The Justice Department announced on May 1 that 24-year-old Yaroslav Vasinskyi was sentenced to 163 months in federal prison and ordered to pay more than $16 million in restitution for conducting ransomware attacks using the ransomware variant Sodinokibi/REvil. Vasinskyi publicly exposed personal data when victims did not pay the ransom demanded.

Vasinskyi, who went by the handle Rabotnik, was charged in November 2021 for conducting thousands of ransomware attacks, including the July 2021 attack against the Florida-based multi-national software provider Kaseya.

After breaking into Kaseya, Vasinskyi encrypted and distributed to other REvil ransomware accomplices the data belonging to as many as 1,500 Kaseya customers, forcing many of them to shut down for days.

According to Deputy Assistant Attorney General Nicole Argentieri, Vasinksyi and his co-conspirators penetrated thousands of computers worldwide and encrypted them using the REvil ransomware then demanded a ransom payment in exchange for the decryption key.

FBI Director Christopher Wray said in the May 1 press release that working with its worldwide partners, the FBI “ensured that a cybercriminal” who believed that he was untouchable faced the “consequences of his actions.”

US Attorney Leigha Simonton of the Northern District of Texas said in the press release that through ransomware attacks, “malicious actors” can “paralyze” American companies “in a matter of minutes.”

Vasinskyi, who was previously extradited from Poland, pleaded guilty to 11 counts including conspiracy to commit fraud, damage to protected computers, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

According to the DOJ press release, in 2023, the Justice Department obtained the forfeiture of millions in ransom payments as part of two civil forfeiture cases that were traced to the members of the conspiracy involving Vasinskyi.