In a press release Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that Sebastien Vachon-Desjardins of Gatineau had been charged as part of a crackdown on "a sophisticated form of ransomware known as NetWalker."
Vachon-Desjardins is accused of amassing "at least over $27.6 million as a result of the offenses charged in the indictment."
amount allegedly obtained by Sebastien Vachon-Desjardins
According to the DOJ, "actors that deploy NetWalker commonly gain unauthorized access to a victim’s computer network days or weeks prior to the delivery of the ransom note."
They then spread the ransomware, sending "the ransom note only once they are satisfied that they have sufficiently infiltrated the victim’s network to extort payment," the DOJ writes.
Netwalker "attacks have specifically targeted the healthcare sector during the COVID-19 pandemic, taking advantage of the global crisis to extort victims," the statement continues.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid said that the DOJ has been working to get victims their money back "wherever possible."
"We are striking back against the growing threat of ransomware by not only bringing criminal charges against the responsible actors, but also disrupting criminal online infrastructure," he said.