German police may have identified one of the members of the ransomware gang REvil. The Russian man profiles himself as a crypto investor to justify his extravagant lifestyle. This is reported by the German newspaper Zeit in their article about the investigation.
Hunt for the cybercriminals
Police forces around the world are on the hunt for the people behind the development and spread of ransomware. Ransomware gangs are known for being very careful about concealing their identities. Once something goes wrong, a ransomware group will shut down their entire operation and disappear from the radar. So is Revil.
When the wind dies down, these groups start their operation again. At REvil, things went awry, because when they restarted their operation in October, the hacker group reused some of their infrastructures that the FBI had sneaked into undetected. The FBI then took everything offline and the REvil members went into hiding again. Members of large ransomware gangs like REvil are often known only by their aliases. Use these in negotiations and on the shady hacking forums where the cybercriminals offer their services and products.
Now at least one of them is the tenderloin. German investigators and German authorities linked the man, whom they refer to as the fictitious name “Nikolay K,” to crypto accounts where ransom money was kept. Victims of REvil and GandCrab ransomware had to transfer the ransom to these accounts. Then an email address and a phone number appeared, which were used for more than 60 accounts at various services and for accounts on social media.
On Nikolay’s social media, and that of his wife, the couple boasts of their luxury items, expensive cars and vacations on a yacht that costs at least 1,300 euros per night. He poses as a legitimate crypto trader and has a small business to his name, but this doesn’t seem to be enough to support his extravagant lifestyle.
It seems that Nikolay has become a bit more careful because while his wife went on holiday abroad, he himself stayed on Russian soil. Anyway, the German Police think they have enough information to link him to his REvil activities. It is expected that the German authorities will soon ask Russia for his extradition.
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