U.S. law enforcement agencies seized almost $30 million worth of crypto related to NetWalker ransomware in January 2021, according to blockchain research firm Chainalysis.
- The seizure is the largest ever related to ransomware, Chainalysis said.
- Law enforcers seized just under 720 bitcoins (BTC) and 15.7 monero (XMR), equating to over $29.4 million at today's prices.
- NetWalker attackers extorted tens of millions of dollars from businesses and governments in 2020, burrowing into and encrypting victims' computer networks. It followed a ransomware-as-a-service model whereby individual hackers conducted the attacks and then shared the profits with NetWalker.
- One such hacker was Sebastien Vachon-Desjardins, who Chainalysis said had netted more than $14 million in bitcoin since February 2018, worth $27 million by January 2021. Earlier this month Vachon-Desjardins was jailed for seven years in Canada after pleading guilty to a number of charges including "participating in the activities of a criminal organization."
- The news of last year's crypto seizure from Vachon-Desjardins follows shortly after U.S. officials got hold of $3.6 billion worth of bitcoin from the 2016 hack of crypto exchange Bitfinex.
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