NetWalker Ransomware Suspect Charged, Tor Site Seized
The NetWalker ransomware operator has been charged by the Department of Justice for ransomware attacks and seizing ransom payments. The man, Sebastien Vachon-Desjardins of Gatineau, Canada, allegedly made more than $27.6 million from NetWalker activities such as ransom payments. It is unclear what Desjardin’s official role within the operation was, or if he is currently in custody as the takedown was the work of international police.
However, Desjardins’ charges represent a win for ethical hackers and security researchers seeking to take down ransomware and malware operators that profit off of companies in a malicious way. In the US, the effective enforcement rate for cybercrime is just 0.05 percent, representing an enforcement gap when it comes to other crimes. NetWalker also targeted the healthcare industry, representing an increasing risk as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to devastate communities and overwhelm hospitals. As of right now, the Tor site hosting NetWalker has been taken down by international law enforcement.