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US, UK, Australia Sanction Russian Man Over Ransomware Attack on Healthcare Insurer 

US, UK and Australia announce sanctions against Alexander Ermakov for his role in the 2022 ransomware attack on healthcare insurer Medibank. 

The United States and the United Kingdom have joined Australia in sanctioning a Russian national accused of being involved in the 2022 ransomware attack on Australian healthcare insurer Medibank. 

Australia announced early on Tuesday that Alexander Ermakov has been sanctioned for his alleged role in the October 2022 Medibank cyberattack, which resulted in the personal information of nearly 10 million Australians getting stolen. 

The cybercriminals claimed to have stolen 200 Gb of files from Medibank and posted the information, which included sensitive medical details, on the dark web after the company refused to pay a ransom. It was described as one of the worst cyber incidents in Australia’s history.

The sanctions against Ermakov represent the first time the Australian government imposed its cyber sanction powers. The Russian national was linked to the ransomware attack as a result of an investigation conducted by Australian authorities and international partners. 

Just hours after Australia, the US and the UK also announced sanctions against Ermakov, saying that he had a key role in the Medibank cyberattack.

“The United States and the United Kingdom, in solidarity with Australia, are taking action against the same individual because of the similar risk presented by this actor to the United States and the UK,” the US Department of the Treasury said. 

Ermakov and the attack on Medibank have been linked to the REvil ransomware group, whose operations were allegedly dismantled by Russian authorities in January 2022, months before the attack on Medibank. REvil had previously been targeted in an international law enforcement operation

However, it’s not uncommon for cybercriminals, including ransomware-as-a-service affiliates and operators, to join or launch other operations after a takedown attempt.

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As a result of the sanctions announced this week, entities in the US, UK and Australia are banned from dealing with Ermakov, including through cryptocurrency wallets or ransomware payments.

Related: US, UK Announce Charges and Sanctions Against Two Russian Hackers

Related: US Sanctions Cryptocurrency Mixer Sinbad for Aiding North Korean Hackers

Related: US Sanctions Russian National for Helping Ransomware Groups Launder Money

Written By

Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a managing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.

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