Canadian hacker extradited to US for role in lucrative ransomware attacks

A Canadian hacker has been extradited to the United States where he is accused of stealing millions of dollars in bitcoins in ransomware attacks, the US Department of Justice announced Thursday.

• Read also: A Quebec hacker will be extradited to the United States

Sébastien Vachon-Desjardins, a 34-year-old federal civil servant, was arrested in Quebec in January 2021 at the request of the United States, which accuses him of having been part of the group of hackers NetWalker.

On this occasion, Canadian authorities seized 719 bitcoins, valued today at more than 28 million US dollars, the ministry said in a statement.

The Americans have launched legal proceedings to recover this sum.

This file “shows that we will follow all possible legal avenues to recover the sums extorted with ransomware, whether they have remained in the country or gone abroad”, commented the head of criminal affairs at the ministry, Kenneth Polite. .

Ransomware, or ransomware, is an increasingly lucrative form of digital hostage-taking in which hackers encrypt victims’ data and then demand money to put things right.

Attacks with NetWalker have targeted companies, town halls, schools or hospitals around the world.

According to Canadian media, Sébastien Vachon-Desjardins had notably participated in an attack against the University of California in 2020 or the Quebec police association. Also prosecuted in his country, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced in February to six years and eight months in prison.

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