Earlier this year, the U.S. government indicted Russian hacker Mikhail Matveev, also known by his online monikers “Wazawaka” and “Boriselcin,” accusing him of being “a prolific ransomware affiliate” who carried out “significant attacks” against companies and critical infrastructure in the U.S. and elsewhere.
The feds also accused him of being a “central figure” in the development and deployment of the notorious ransomware variants like Hive, LockBit, and Babuk. Matveev is such a prominent cybercriminal that the FBI designated him as one of its most wanted hackers. Matveev, who the FBI believes he remains in Russia, is unlikely to face extradition to the United States.
When reached by TechCrunch on X, formerly Twitter, Matveev verified it was really him by showing a picture of his left hand, which has only four fingers, per Matveev’s FBI’s most wanted page. Matveev also sent a selfie holding a piece of paper with this reporter’s name on it.
After he agreed to do an interview, we asked Matveev a dozen questions about his life as a most wanted hacker, but he didn’t answer any of them. Instead, he complained that we used the word “hacker.”
“I don’t like this designation — hacker, we are a separate type of specialist, practical and using our knowledge and resources without water and writing articles,” he wrote in an X direct message. “I was interested only in terms of financial motivation, roughly speaking, I was thinking about what to do, sell people or become. it, [sic] let me tell you how I lost my finger?”
At that point, Matveev stopped answering messages.
The FBI declined to comment.
Matveev’s online shenanigans, which include giving lengthy interviews to cybersecurity journalists, posting selfie videos of himself driving around while listening to Metallica, and writing about his hacking activities, show that he does not seem to care about being on the FBI’s most wanted list. And as long as he doesn’t leave Russia, his life may not be that much different that it was before he got indicted.
“The weather is good, the climate is good, everything is good. Even the sanctions make me happy,” Matveev said in the video, which he deleted after we published this article. “Lots of people saying fake stuff.”
UPDATE, Sept. 18, 2023, 3:58 p.m. ET: This story was updated to include the FBI’s no comment and quotes from Matveev’s video on Twitter.