Former Canadian Government Offical Extradited over Netwalker Attacks

A former Canadian government official has been extradited to the United States on Wednesday to face criminal charges for deploying ransomware known as “NetWalker,” after being indicted by a federal grand jury in Florida.

Vachon-Desjardins, 34, was accused of launching a series of ransomware attacks between April and December 2020, targeting companies, municipalities, hospitals, and law enforcement.

In January 2021, investigators searched Vachon-Desjardins’s home and found and seized 719 bitcoin, which is valued to be worth more than US$28 million.

“As exemplified by the seizure of cryptocurrency by our Canadian partners, we will use all legally available avenues to pursue seizure and forfeiture of the alleged proceeds of ransomware, whether located domestically or abroad,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.

According to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Vachon-Desjardins also faced parallel criminal charges in Canada earlier this year, including mischief concerning computer data, extortion, unauthorized use of a computer, and participating in a criminal organization.

On January 31, 2022, Vachon-Desjardins pleaded guilty to three of those four charges and received a sentence of seven years imprisonment. 

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