U.S. law enforcement agencies seized almost $30 million worth of crypto related to NetWalker ransomware in January 2021, according to blockchain research firm Chainalysis.
The seizure is the largest ever related to ransomware, Chainalysis said.
Law enforcers seized just under 720 bitcoins and 15.7 monero (XMR), equating to over $29.4 million at today’s prices.
NetWalker attackers extorted tens of millions of dollars from businesses and governments in 2020, burrowing into and encrypting victims’ computer networks. It followed a ransomware-as-a-service model whereby individual hackers conducted the attacks and then shared the profits with NetWalker.
One such hacker was Sebastien Vachon-Desjardins whom Chainalysis said had netted more than $14 million in bitcoin since February 2018, worth $27 million by January 2021.
Earlier this month Vachon-Desjardins was jailed for seven years in Canada after pleading guilty to a number of charges including “participating in the activities of a criminal organization”.
The news of last year’s crypto seizure from Vachon-Desjardins follows shortly after U.S. officials got hold of $3.6 billion worth of bitcoin from the 2016 hack of crypto exchange Bitfinex.
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