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Lockbit Affiliate Sentenced to Four Years in Prison | #cybercrime | #computerhacker

Mikhail Vasiliev, a dual Russian-Canadian national, has been sentenced to nearly four years in prison.

The conviction comes after Vasiliev pleaded guilty to a series of charges, including cyber extortion, mischief, and weapons offenses.

His lawyer, Louis Strezos, acknowledged that Vasiliev had accepted responsibility for his actions, which was reflected in the sentence handed down by Justice Michelle Fuerst.

Vasiliev’s Cybercrimes and Guilty Plea

Justice Fuerst did not mince words when she labeled Vasiliev a “cyber-terrorist,” condemning his actions as “planned, deliberate, and coldly calculated.” The 34-year-old, who emigrated from Moscow over two decades ago, confessed to being a ransomware hacker.

He engaged in cyber extortion by holding sensitive data hostage and demanding ransoms from various businesses across Canada, including those in Saskatchewan, Montreal, and Newfoundland.

Vasiliev’s criminal activities stopped approximately 18 months ago when he was apprehended by police at his Bradford home, as reported by CTV news.

U.S. investigators who monitored him for two years confirmed that he was actively engaged in cybercrimes during his arrest.

LockBit Ransomware Group

The LockBit ransomware group, with which Vasiliev was affiliated, has been notorious for its widespread impact on businesses worldwide.

U.S. justice officials in New Jersey have reported that LockBit has demanded at least $100 million in ransoms and successfully extorted tens of millions of dollars through over 1,000 cyber attacks.

Last month, the Justice Department charged Vasiliev and four other alleged members of the LockBit group for their roles in these cybercrimes.

Impact on Canadian Businesses

The court detailed the severe consequences of Vasiliev’s actions on Canadian companies, which were extorted for hundreds of thousands of dollars each.

These businesses experienced significant disruptions as their computer systems and financial information were encrypted, paralyzing their operations.

In addition to his prison sentence, Justice Fuerst ordered Vasiliev to pay more than $860,000 in restitution to his Canadian victims.

As Vasiliev awaits extradition to New Jersey to face additional cybercrime charges, his family reportedly plans to return to Russia.

The sentencing of Mikhail Vasiliev marks a critical moment in the ongoing battle against cybercriminals and serves as a reminder of the international reach and devastating impact of ransomware attacks.

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