Canadian cybercriminal pleads guilty to “NetWalker” attacks in US – Naked Security

If you’re a Naked Security Pocast listener, you may remember, back in March 2022, that we spoke about a convicted cybercriminal from Canada by the name of Sebastien Vachon-Desjardins.

By all accounts, he was part of several so-called Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) gangs, such as REvil and NetWalker, where the actual ransomware attackers act as “affiliates” for the core ransomware creators, in return for handing over an AppStore-like or Google Play-like 30% cut of every blackmail payment they extort.

Simply put, the core gang members create the malware samples, run the darkweb servers that handle the “negotiations” with victims, and collect the extortion payments…

… While the affiliates handle breaking into victims’ networks, mapping them out, and lining up the final attack in which as many computers on the network as possible have their data scrambled at the same time.

The “business theory”, if we can call it that, is that by taking 30% of every successful attack, the core criminals become extremely wealthy indeed, but keep a low profile away from the network-cracking limelight.

At the same time, by handing 70% to their “affiliates”, they encourage those co-conspirators to make each attack as debilitating as possible, potentially increasing the amount that victims can ultimately be squeezed into paying to get their business running again.


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