DOJ charges Russian hacker linked to attacks against US law enforcement agencies

Mikhail Pavlovich Matveev has ties to the Hive, LockBit and Babuk gangs.

Alexander Drago / reuters

The US State Department has announced a reward of up to $10 million for information that leads to the arrest of a prolific hacker. On Monday, the Department of Justice filed criminal charges against Mikhail Pavlovich Matveev, a Russian national and resident with links to the infamous Hive, LockBit and Babuk ransomware gangs. Starting as early as 2020, Matveev has allegedly targeted US law enforcement and healthcare organizations on multiple occasions.

In April 2021, for instance, he was linked to a Babuk ransomware attack that saw the computer systems of the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington DC locked out. Last May, Matveev, whose online pseudonyms include Wazawaka, Uhodiransomwar, m1x, and Boriselcin, was allegedly involved in a Hive ransomware attack that targeted a healthcare NGO in New Jersey.

Separately, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control announced sanctions against Matveev. "Matveev has been vocal about his illegal activities. He has provided insight into his cybercrimes in media interviews, disclosed exploit code to online criminals, and stated that his illicit activities will be tolerated by local authorities provided that he remains loyal to Russia," the Treasury said.

Of the ransomware gangs Matveev is allegedly affiliated with, LockBit is among the most active and destructive. As of late 2022, the group’s malware has infected the computer systems of at least 1,400 victims, including a Holiday Inn hotel in Turkey. According to the Justice Department, the gang’s affiliates have extracted at least $75 million in ransom payments. Security researchers recently found evidence that suggests that LockBit recently began targeting Mac computers.