The US Department of Justice, the Bulgarian National Investigation Service and the Bulgarian Organized Crime Agency have joined forces to destroy the NetWalker encryption virus.
The hackers behind NetWalker offer a “virus by subscription” service, that is, they provide various groups with access to the virus and help in infecting various companies and government agencies. Last year, even health care facilities were attacked by the virus.
As part of the international operation, charges were brought against a Canadian citizen, Sebastian Vachon-Desjardins, who received $27.6 million thanks to the NetWalker attacks. Also, law enforcement authorities confiscated $450,000 in cryptocurrencies – the funds were paid by the victims of three attacks of the encryption virus. Bulgarian authorities have closed a ” hidden resource in the darknet “that was used by” accomplices ” of NetWalker operators.
“We have hit back at the operators of ransomware viruses, the threat from which is constantly growing. Not only have we brought criminal charges against those responsible, but we have also damaged the online infrastructure. We tried to return the ransoms paid to the victims, in cases where this is possible, ” said Assistant US Attorney General Nicholas McQuaid (Nicholas McQuaid).
In the fall of 2020, NetWalker operators attacked the energy company K-Electric, as well as the Argentine migration service. According to the company McAfee, last year hackers using NetWalker, in just 4 months, received $25 million in ransoms.