A Russian hacker accused of launching ransomware assaults on hospitals, schools, and police departments in New Jersey and the nation’s capital has been charged, and a $10 million reward is being offered for information leading to his detention, federal officials revealed Tuesday.

Indictments were released by the Justice Department accusing Mikhail Pavlovich Matveev, a Russian national, of being a member of ransomware conspiracies in hundreds of internet-based scams meant to extort money from victims in the United States.

According to court records, Matveev was charged by federal officials with conspiring to communicate ransom demands, scheming to harm protected computers, and intentionally damaging protected computers. He faces more than 20 years in prison if convicted.

“These malicious actors believe they can operate with impunity – and have no fear of being caught because they live in a country where they feel safe and protected.” That may be the case now, but the safe harbor may not last,” said FBI-Newark special agent in charge James E. Dennehy. “When we have the opportunity, we will do everything in our power to bring Matveev and his ilk to justice.”

Matveev and his co-conspirators made $200 million, according to the government. Matveev, 30, is suspected of cooperating with other hackers from Russia since at least 2020, employing ransomware variants LockBit, Hive, and Babuk. Matveev is suspected of collecting around $200 million in ransom from approximately 2,800 victims in the United States and around the world. According to Kenneth A. Polite, Jr., assistant US attorney general, Matveev’s claimed victims included hospitals, corporations, organizations (including churches and charities), and government institutions.

According to an unsealed indictment, Matveev used the aliases Wazawaka, m1x, Boriselcin, and Uhodiransomwar to send ransom demands to victims after infiltrating their computer systems and threatening to expose private data or keep their data inaccessible. The hackers took cryptocurrency payments and requested a total of $400 million.

The State Department issued a $10 million prize for information leading to the arrest of Matveev.

Matveev is on the FBI’s most-wanted list of cyber criminals, which describes his ties to Kaliningrad and St. Petersburg, Russia, and urges citizens worldwide to keep an eye out for his distinctive physical appearance: four fingers on his left hand and a tattoo sleeve on his right arm with celestial objects and sea creatures.

DC and New Jersey police departments were targeted.
Matveev also targeted police departments, including the Prospect Park, New Jersey, Police Department in June 2020 and the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D.C., in April 2021.

After refusing to pay the ransom demands, D.C. police were the victims of what experts dubbed the worst known ransomware attack on a U.S. police department, resulting in a large data breach to the dark web. According to The Associated Press, intelligence reports and officers’ personal information were leaked, as well as security information from other law enforcement organizations relevant to President Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Prospect Park, New Jersey Mayor Mohamed Khairullah stated that the hacker gained access to Prospect Park’s computers using a phishing email.

According to Khairullah, the attack exposed an undefined amount of computer files including personal information on present and retired police officers. He stated that the borough supplied credit monitoring services to the cops for four years to guarantee that they were not targets of identity theft.

“Our immediate response was to ensure their safety,” he explained.

Municipal personnel have been instructed on how to properly authenticate emails since the attack, according to Khairullah. He also stated that the borough had shifted its computer data to cloud-based storage, which is more secure than an on-premise server.


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