According to a statement from the US Department of Justice (DoJ), a Canadian man was given a 20-year prison sentence for his involvement in the infamous NetWalker ransomware attacks.
Sebastian Vachon-Desjardins, a 35-year-old resident of Quebec, was returned to the United States as a result of the extradition agreement between this nation and Canada.
According to the announcement, Canadian law enforcement detained the defendant in January 2021 and carried out a search warrant at his residence in response to a request made by US authorities. Additionally, Vachon-Desjardins was told to forfeit $21.5 million.
As per the DoJ, the defendant collaborated with a criminal gang and took part in a sophisticated ransomware attack that went after “dozens of victims all over the world.”
The statement says:
“The defendant identified and attacked high-value ransomware victims and profited from the chaos caused by encrypting and stealing the victims’ data,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.
Furthermore, it says that this sentence “demonstrates that ransomware actors will face significant consequences for their crimes and exemplifies the Department’s steadfast commitment to pursuing actors who participate in ransomware schemes.”
Sebastian Vachon-Desjardins entered a guilty plea to four counts, including computer fraud and sending a demand to harm a secured computer in the US.
He is also referred to as one of the “most prolific affiliates” of the criminal organization that speaks Russian.
This source claims that Netwalker targeted 400 victims across more than 30 countries and amassed $40 million in ransom money.
Chainalysis discovered that since NetWalker first appeared in August 2019, ransoms have cost over $46 million.
The blockchain analysis company reported back in January 2021 that “it picked up steam in mid-2020, growing the average ransom to $65,000 last year, up from $18,800 in 2019.”