According to a press release from the US Department of Justice, an alleged crypto money laundering scheme has taken a hit. The authorities of this country succeeded in extraditing a Russian national who allegedly laundered up to 70 million dollars.
The suspect is Denis Mihaqlovic Dubnikov (29) will face charges in the District of Oregon, Portland. The suspect was in federal court at the time of the announcement and will have to await a five-day jury trial scheduled for October.
If Dubnikov is convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison. According to the US Department of Justice, the suspect and his alleged network of conspirators used their scheme to launder the proceeds of ransomware attacks targeting entities based in the US and overseas.
The Department of Justice claims that Dubnikov and his collaborators allegedly used malware called “Ryuk”. Identified in 2018, this malware is used by malicious actors to take over a computer or network, blocking legitimate users and having the potential to wipe current data and backup servers.
The Department of Justice said this about Ryuk and its potential to wreak havoc on multiple users and industries:
It should be noted that Ryuk can target storage drives contained in or physically connected to a computer, including those accessed remotely through a network connection. Ryuk has been used to target thousands of victims worldwide in various sectors
The press release stated the following about the alleged money laundering scheme created by Dubnikov:
After receiving ransom payments, the actors of Ryuk, 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, the source, location, ownership and control of the ransom proceeds.
Crypto industry sees $2 billion in hacks in 2022
The crypto industry has been badly affected by bad actors infiltrating, sabotaging, and stealing from ordinary users. As reported by Bitcoinist, hackers stole approximately $2 billion from the industry in the first half of 2022. This represents a 60% increase from the previous year.
Since January of this year, the crypto industry has seen some of the biggest hacks in its history. Many are believed to have been carried out by hackers and cyber rogue groups sponsored by Russia and North Korea.
The majority of the projects concerned are based on the decentralized finance (DeFi) sector, in particular, protocols that enable cross-chain interactions or “bridges”. On-chain research firm Chainalysis said:
We estimate that so far in 2022, North Korea-affiliated groups have stolen approximately $1 billion worth of cryptocurrency from DeFi protocols.
In this sense, the United States and other international authorities have called for a closer examination of the industry. Ransomware attacks negatively impacted several key components of the US economy in 2021.
In October 2021, members of the international community pledged to redouble their efforts to stop cybercriminals and take additional steps to improve their security. This could have led to Dubnikov’s arrest and subsequent trial. At that time, the United States and its allies declared:
(This) Efforts will include improving network resilience to prevent incidents where possible and respond effectively when incidents occur; combat the abuse of financial mechanisms to launder ransom payments or conduct other activities that make ransomware profitable.