Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Ransomware gang REvil dismantled, reports Russian intelligence bureau

Authorities in Russia say they have dismantled the ransomware crime group REvil, and charged several of its members, the BBC reports. The United States had offered a reward of up to $10 million for information leading to the gang members, following ransomware attacks. Russia’s intelligence bureau FSB said the group had “ceased to exist”. However, it does not appear that any Russian members of the gang will be extradited to the U.S. The agency said it had acted after being provided with information about the REvil gang by the U.S. According to the Russian state news service Tass, REvil “developed malicious software” and “organized the theft of money from the bank accounts of foreign citizens.” The FSB said it had seized more than 426 million rubles (USD $5.59 million), including about $600,000 worth of cryptocurrency. It also seized more than 20 “premium cars” that had been purchased with the proceeds of crime. “The organized criminal association has ceased to exist, and the information infrastructure used for criminal purposes was neutralized,” the FSB said in a statement. The announcement comes during a standoff between the U.S. and Russia. Moscow is demanding western guarantees, including that Nato will not expand further. It has also built up its troops near the Ukraine border. These arrests are an important moment in cyber-crime and cyber-relations between the U.S. and Russia. For years, Russia has ignored and denied accusations that Russian ransomware hackers are allowed safe harbour in the country to attack western targets. In its Geneva Summit last summer, Russia’s President Putin and U.S. President Biden agreed to open discussions about how to combat the scourge of ransomware, but even the most optimistic experts had given up on seeing the talks bear fruit. The operation is the first time in years that the U.S. and Russia have collaborated on a cyber-crime operation. It may point to a thawing of relations, which is being widely celebrated in the cyber-security world.

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