US Indicts Lockbit Ransomware Ringleader and Offers a $10 Million Prize

The Department of Justice has revealed charges against a Russian person who is accused of creating and managing LockBit ransomware. The Department of Justice (DOJ) stated in a document on Tuesday that Dmitry Yuryevich Khoroshev, who is 31 years old, played a significant role in making LockBit one of the most active and harmful ransomware groups globally.

Khoroshev is said to have been involved with LockBit since it first appeared in September 2019. LockBit ransomware attacks have affected more than 2,500 victims in at least 120 countries. The attackers, including Khoroshev and others, have reportedly received at least $500 million in ransom payments.

LockBit is a type of ransomware that works like a service. This means that people who want to do bad things can buy or rent the ransomware and use it to attack others. The ransomware has been connected to the well-known attacks on the UK’s Royal Mail service, a children’s hospital, and the small Canadian town of St. Marys, Ontario.

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In February, law enforcement in the US and UK took control of the websites and servers used by LockBit. They also obtained the keys that could be used to help organizations regain access to their data. At that time, Artur Sungatov and Ivan Kondratyev were also accused of using LockBit to attack victims in the US.

Khoroshev is accused of taking 20 percent of each ransom payment obtained from victims. He also ran the group’s data leak site. Law enforcement discovered that Khoroshev continued to possess stolen data from the victims, even though the group had made a false promise to delete the information after receiving payment.

“Today’s indictment is an important step in the investigation and prosecution of LockBit. So far, five other LockBit affiliates have been charged, with two of them currently in custody awaiting trial. This has also caused a major disruption to the LockBit operation, which is now discredited,” says US Attorney Philip R. Sellinger for the District of New Jersey in a statement.

Khoroshev is facing 26 charges, which include one count of conspiracy to commit fraud and eight counts of extortion to damage a protected computer. If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to 185 years in prison. The government is punishing Khoroshev and is also offering a $10 million reward for any information that helps the police catch him.

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