Canadian Man Linked to Hospital Ransomware Attack

A Canadian man was extradited yesterday from Canada to the United States on charges conspiracy to commit computer fraud and wire fraud, intentional damage to a protected computer, and for demanding a ransom from victims of the attack.

Officials say Sebastien Vachon-Desjardins, 34, of Gatineau, Quebec, Canada, deployed a sophisticated form of ransomware known as NetWalker. NetWalker ransomware targeted dozens of victims all over the world, including companies, municipalities, hospitals, law enforcement, emergency services, school districts, colleges, and universities. Attacks have specifically targeted the healthcare sector during the COVID-19 pandemic, taking advantage of the global crisis to extort victims.

Officials said he collected $27 million in ransom resulting from these attacks.

“Ransomware is a multi-billion-dollar criminal enterprise that transcends physical and political boundaries. International collaboration is essential to identify the perpetrators of these sophisticated schemes,” said U.S. Attorney Roger B. Handberg for the Middle District of Florida. “This case illustrates effective international law enforcement cooperation directed at identifying cybercriminals, holding them accountable for their alleged criminal actions, and recovering funds allegedly stolen from their victims.”

Vachon-Desjardins was extradited to the United States pursuant to the extradition treaty between the United States and Canada. Pursuant to a request submitted by U.S. authorities, Canadian law enforcement officers arrested Vachon-Desjardins in Gatineau, Quebec, on Jan. 27, 2021, and executed a search warrant at Vachon-Desjardins’s home in Gatineau. During the search, officers discovered and seized 719 Bitcoin, valued at approximately $28,151,582 as of today’s date, and $790,000 in Canadian currency.

The FBI’s Tampa Field Office is investigating the case. 

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