Canadian Busted By Cops In Ransomware Attack Scheme

An investigation done by the U.S. Department of Justice on NetWalker ransomware attacks has led to charges against a Canadian man in Quebec. The accused is alleged to be part of a shadowy group of cyber criminals who have attacked several targets in Canada, including the College of Nurses of Ontario, a Canadian Tire store in B.C., and the Northwest Territories Power Corporation.

Details about the Canadian national indicted today are not yet available beyond his name and residence — Sebastien Vachon-Desjardins, of Gatineau.

Vachon-Desjardins is currently believed to be an “affiliate,” a person who rented the ransomware code from the NetWalker creator.

This type of business is called Ransomware-as-a-Service, or RaaS, and is a common setup employed by many ransomware gangs today.

This is yet another example of how ransomware attacks are affecting Canadians writ large and also sparks a broader concern on how threat-actors behind such attacks can be just around the corner.

David Masson, Director of Enterprise Security for Darktrace had this to say:

In the increasingly interconnected world we now live in, we can be anywhere and everywhere – which means the cyber threats we face can now reach us in new places. The recent NetWalker ransomware arrests follow worldwide attacks, including attacks launched against victims right here in Canada like the College of Nurses of Ontario and the Northwest Territories Power Corporation, and reveal a worldwide threat network stretching from Florida (where a Canadian alleged perpetrator has been arrested) to Bulgaria and beyond.

Complex and sophisticated malware like NetWalker are supported by highly complex and sophisticated criminal groups. The ability to see and make sense of what is happening, and how to deal with the threat, increasingly relies on AI as the essential solution in cybersecurity. 

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