US puts $10 million bounty on Russian hacker's head

A laptop with a padlock on the screen

The US Department of the Treasury has sanctioned Mikhail Matveev for launching ransomware cyberattacks against US law enforcement, businesses, and critical infrastructure. It said that the US District Courts for the District of New Jersey and the District of Columbia have unsealed indictments against the hacker and the US Department of State has put out a $10 million reward for information that leads to his arrest or conviction.

In its statement, the Treasury Department launched a blistering attack on Russia, calling the country “a haven for ransomware actors, enabling cybercriminals like Matveev”. It said that Hive, LockBit, and Babuk were all Russia-linked ransomware variants that Matveev helped to develop and deploy and have collectively been responsible for the loss of millions of dollars. Hive, it said, targeted more than 1,500 victims in over 80 countries. Targets included hospitals, school districts, financial firms, and other critical infrastructure.

“The United States will not tolerate ransomware attacks against our people and our institutions,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson. “Ransomware actors like Matveev will be held accountable for their crimes, and we will continue to use all available authorities and tools to defend against cyber threats.”

As a result of the sanctions placed on Matveev, “all property and interests in property of the designated individual that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons must be blocked and reported to OFAC.” Also, anyone who engages in certain transactions with Matveev may also face sanctions from the Treasury Department, it said.

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