Matveev—known online as m1x—is 30 years old and allegedly central to the development and use of infamous ransomware operations like LockBit, Babuk and Hive. These ransomware operations steal data from victims and then encrypt their networks. The criminals then threaten to publicise the stolen information on a data leak site in an attempt to extort ransom payments from victims.
LockBit and Hive are among the most successful ransomware operations to date. The total ransom demands made by the members of these ransomware campaigns to their victims is roughly $400 million USD, with payments by victims amounting to approximately $200 million USD.
Matveev is charged with conspiring to transmit ransom demands, conspiring to damage protected computers, and intentionally damaging protected computers. If convicted, he faces over 20 years in prison.
An award of up to $10 million USD will be paid by the U.S. State Department to anyone providing information that leads to the arrest or conviction of Matveev. Matveev has a full-sleeve tattoo on his right arm which includes celestial objects such as moons, planets, and meteors, and sea creatures such as large fish and sting rays. He only has four fingers on his left hand, where he is missing his left ring finger.
The full indictment can be read on the Justice Department’s website and the FBI most wanted poster is available also.
As with all indictments, they are allegations. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.