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The US recently secured the extradition of an alleged Russian crypto money launderer from the Netherlands on charges of Ryuk cybercrime.
According to a recent press release from the Department of Justice, an alleged crypto money launderer has extradition to the US from the Netherlands. Denis Mihaqlovic Dubnikov, a 29-year-old Russian citizen, was extradited to the US and is scheduled to face a five-day jury trial beginning on October 4th. He made an initial appearance in a Portland, Oregon federal court yesterday and faces a maximum 20-year term if convicted.
Details Preceding Russian Crypto Launderer Extradition to the US
In the media release, the Department of Justice alleges that Dubnikov and his accomplices committed cyber financial impropriety. This includes laundering the proceeds of ransomware attacks carried out on several entities within and beyond the US. The Department of Justice statement read in part:
“According to court documents, Dubnikov and his co-conspirators laundered the proceeds of ransomware attacks on individuals and organizations throughout the United States and abroad. Specifically, Dubnikov and his accomplices laundered ransom payments extracted from victims of Ryuk ransomware attacks.”
Furthermore, the US federal law-enforcing executive department highlighted how Dubnikov and his co-conspirators concealed the heist. According to the Department of Justice:
“After receiving ransom payments, Ryuk actors, Dubnikov and his co-conspirators, and others involved in the scheme, allegedly engaged in various financial transactions, including international financial transactions, to conceal the nature, source, location, ownership, and control of the ransom proceeds.”
The press release also suggests that Dubnikov allegedly laundered more than $400,000 in Ryuk ransom proceeds back in July 2019. Meanwhile, all involved co-conspirators laundered no less than $70 million in ransom proceeds.
Multiple agencies are reportedly working on the case, as developments continue to unravel. For instance, the Department of Justice saw Dubnikov’s extradition through its International Affairs division, while the FBI’s Portland Field Office is investigating. In addition, the Department of Justice’s Ransomware and Digital Extortion Task Force is also lending its specialty to the case. The press release also emphasizes the Task Force’s dedication to disrupting, investigating, and prosecuting ransomware and digital extortion activity. The specialized cybercrime unit tracks and disrupts malware before development and deployment. The unit also identifies actors responsible for the crime and tries to hold them accountable.
Ryuk ransomware is malicious software that was first identified back in August 2018. When executed on a computer or network, the ransomware software encrypts files while attempting to erase any available system backups. Ryuk can target storage drives physically connected to a computer system, or contained within the system. These also include that storage drives accessible remotely through a network connection.
Hackers and cybercriminals have deployed Ryuk extensively to infiltrate countless victims’ digital storage caches globally. In addition, these digital criminals have also repeatedly attacked a variety of business sectors and industries worldwide. For instance, in October 2020, authorities identified Ryuk as an imminent and prevalent cybercrime threat to hospitals and healthcare providers in the US. This seemingly foreshadows the latest case surrounding the Russian crypto launderer’s extradition to the US.