Canadian Ransomware Suspect Extradited to US After Officials Seize $28M in Cryptocurrency

A former Canadian government employee was turned over to the US to face charges of using ransomware to scam millions of dollars from victims.

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David Lumb is a mobile reporter covering how on-the-go gadgets like phones, tablets and smartwatches change our lives. Over the last decade, he's reviewed phones for TechRadar as well as covered tech, gaming, and culture for Engadget, Popular Mechanics, NBC Asian America, Increment, Fast Company and others. As a true Californian, he lives for coffee, beaches and burritos.
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Canada has handed over a former government employee to US officials to face charges of digital extortion by ransomware. Canadian authorities also seized $28 million in cryptocurrencies.

Sebastien Vachon-Desjardins was brought from his home in Quebec, Canada, to appear in court Thursday in Tampa, Florida. The indictment alleges Vachon-Desjardins, 34, participated in the form of ransomware known as NetWalker to commit various cybercrimes of extortion in 2020, according to a US Department of Justice brief

While Vachon-Desjardins' victims weren't identified in the brief, the hacking collective under the NetWalker name was linked to millions of dollars in ransom schemes, including wresting $1.1 million from UC San Francisco's School of Medicine and more from other academic institutions in 2020.

Read more:  A Timeline of the Biggest Ransomware Attacks 

It's not clear how much money Vachon-Desjardins allegedly extorted from victims, but Canadian officers executing a search warrant of his home in Quebec seized 719 Bitcoin, currently valued at approximately $28,151,582, and $790,000 in Canadian currency, according to the Justice Department. The indictment alleges that $27 million was traceable to proceeds of his cybercrimes.