December 3, 2023

A UK/US joint action have resulted in Seven Russian cybercriminals linked to a notorious ransomware group exposed and sanctioned. The sanctions were announced today by the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) alongside the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). This follows a lengthy investigation by the National Crime Agency (NCA) into the crime group behind Trickbot malware, as well as the Conti and RYUK ransomware strains, among others, a NCA posting read.

The group has been behind some of the most damaging ransomware attacks in recent years. The NCA assessed that the group was responsible for extorting at least £27 million from 149 UK victims, while US Department of the Treasury cited malicious cyber activities targeting critical infrastructure including hospitals and medical facilities in the US.


The seven cybercriminals are now subject to travel bans and asset freezes and are severely restricted in their use of the global financial system, the NCA stated. Those designated today are:

  • Vitaliy Kovalev (aka Ben or Bentley)
  • Valery Sedletski (aka Strix)
  • Valentin Karyagin (aka Globus)
  • Maksim Mikhailov (aka Baget)
  • Dmitry Pleshevskiy (aka Iseldor)
  • Mikhail Iskritskiy (aka Tropa)
  • Ivan Vakhromeyev (aka Mushroom)

Russia is a haven for cybercriminals, where groups such as Trickbot freely perpetrate malicious cyber activities against the US, the UK, and allies and partners, stated the US Department of the Treasury. Current members of the Trickbot group are associated with Russian intelligence services, it added.

The OFSI has updated its public guidance for responding to ransomware incidents. The update makes clear the UK’s stance on not paying ransom demands, instead advocating cyber resilience to prevent and mitigate against ransomware attacks.

Image Courtesy : National Crime Agency (NCA)

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