US Treasury Targets This Russian Ransomware Group in New Sanctions

US Treasury Targets This Russian Ransomware Group in New Sanctions
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The US Treasury Department has sanctioned two individuals affiliated with the Russian ransomware group that stole $9 billion in assets from a US broker-dealer. The software, created by Russia’s LockBit group, likely contributed to the rise in ransomware attacks in 2023.

The US added Russian nationals Artur Sungatov and Ivan Kondratiev to the Office of Foreign Assets Control’s (OFAC) registry of specially designated individuals. 

US Treasury Increases Crypto Sanctions

In addition to adding their names to the list, the Treasury Department has also blacklisted ten crypto addresses belonging to the individuals. The sanctions mean US companies and citizens may not transact with the individuals.

All properties belonging to the Russians must also be reported to the US Treasury Department. The latest sanctions are part of the US Treasury’s ongoing effort to crack down on terrorist financing.

It previously blacklisted crypto wallet addresses belonging to the North Korean group Lazarus. The regulator later proposed that altcoin and bitcoin mixers follow the same record-keeping and reporting rules imposed on foreign banks.

The growth of initial access brokers (IABs) has made it easier for bad actors to conduct ransomware attacks. These entities sell penetrated networks to ransomware attackers for less than $1000.

The combination of IABs and RaaS creates a ‘disturbingly effective’ business model for criminals, says Andrew Davis of cybersecurity incident response consulting firm Kivu Consulting.

“The increase in attack volume can be attributed to the affiliate model’s ease of access and the adoption of ransomware-as-a-service, a disturbingly effective business model for cybercriminals,” Davis said.

BeInCrypto reached out to the US Treasury Department but had yet to hear back at press time

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