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FBI seized $2.3 million in cryptocurrency tied to ransomware group REvil

Authorities seized a crypto wallet containing 40 Bitcoins approx from Aleksandr Sikerin, who is affiliated with a ransomware outfit named REvil.

By: Tech Desk | Pune |
Updated: December 7, 2021 2:44:42 pm
The accused REvil affiliate has been last traced to an address in St. Petersburg.(File: Image)

US law enforcement seized approximately $2.3 million (roughly Rs 17 crores) in cryptocurrency connected to infamous hacker group, ReVil. The accused has been identified as a Russian citizen suspected of being associated with REvil, known for their ransomware attacks.

REvil ransomware is a file blocking virus that encrypts files after infection and discards a ransom request message. The message demands the victim to pay a ransom in Bitcoin and when the ransom is not paid in time the demand doubles. Ransomware gang affiliates are responsible for frontline hacking work and stealing the data from victims’ machines.

According to a report by Bleeping Computer on Tuesday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) confiscated a cryptocurrency wallet containing 40 Bitcoin from Aleksandr Sikerin, an alleged affiliate of REvil.

Sikerin’s last known address was located in St. Petersburg, Russia, the complaint added, as reported by CNN.  “The United States of America files this verified complaint in rem against 39.89138522 Bitcoin Seized From Exodus Wallet (“the Defendant Property”) that is now located and in the custody and management of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) Dallas Division, One Justice Way, Dallas Texas,” reads the complaint, which was filed in the Northern District of Texas Dallas Division.

Last month, the US Justice Department announced the seizure of over $6 million in ransom payments allegedly made to Yevgeniy Polyanin, another Russian resident tied to REvil. The criminal had carried out around 3,000 ransomware attacks.

Meanwhile, FBI in November, had issued a warning against cybercriminals that are using Bitcoin ATMs and QR codes to defraud unsuspecting individuals. The FBI in a released Public Service Announcement (PSA), said that it witnessed an increase in scammers directing victims to use physical cryptocurrency ATMs and digital QR codes to complete payment transactions.

“Such schemes include online impersonation schemes (scammer falsely identifies as a familiar entity such as the government, law enforcement, a legal office, or a utility company), romance schemes (scammer establishes an online relationship with a victim by creating a false sense of intimacy and dependency), and lottery schemes (scammer falsely convinces a victim that they have won an award and consequently demands the victim to pay lottery fees),” the PSA noted.

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