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US calls on Russia to do more to crack down on ransomware groups as White House hosts meeting with allies

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity under ground rules set for the call by the White House, said the US government has “shared information with Russia about criminal ransomware activity from its territory.”

“We have seen some steps from the Russian government and want to see further action,” the official said.

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan began the virtual meeting by telling delegates, “We can’t do it alone.” Sullivan called for more cooperation on ransomware to “hold criminals and the states that harbor them” accountable.

“International criminals are often the perpetrators of ransomware crimes, and they often take advantage of global infrastructure and money laundering networks in multiple countries, multiple jurisdictions, to carry out their attacks,” Sullivan said.

A spokesman for the Russian embassy in Washington did not respond to a request for comment.

Biden in June Russian President Vladimir Putin urged After the ransomware attacks, US companies had to spend millions of dollars to crack down on Russian-speaking hackers. One such incident forced the Colonial Pipeline, which provides about 45% of its fuel for the East Coast, to cease operations for a few days in May.

The disruptions have put cybersecurity, and ransomware in particular, high on the list of national security priorities for the White House.

Senior government officials from the US and 30 allied countries are meeting almost Wednesday and Thursday to collaborate closely in the fight against ransomware, which has taken computers offline at health care centers in many countries during the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the White House, countries represented at the meetings include Australia, France, Germany and the United Kingdom. The discussion is focusing on efforts to prosecute and disrupt ransomware groups and tackle the role of cryptocurrencies in funding ransomware attacks, among other issues.

Russia is apparently absent from the meetings as the White House tries to make progress in bilateral talks with Moscow.

Since the Biden-Putin meeting, US officials have watched closely for any changes in the behavior of the Russian government and the pace of cybercriminal actions emanating from Russia.

Mandiant, an American cyber security firm that responds to ransomware incidents, have reported A lull in the activity of some ransomware groups. But it remains to be seen whether ransomware attacks come to a halt.
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A spokesperson for Recorded Future, another cybersecurity firm, told CNN that the firm is “tracking a Russian-based ransomware group that currently has more than 100 members” and is “actively recruiting new cybercriminals.” Is.”

Jane Easterly, director of the US Cyber ​​Security and Infrastructure Security Agency, said last week that she had not seen a “significant, material change” in Russian behavior since the tete-a-tete between Biden and Putin.

Cybersecurity analysts say one of the most effective ways to combat ransomware is to arrest those who develop and deploy computer-locking software. While Russian cooperation has been elusive, the US has come down heavily on allies in Europe in raids against some criminal groups.

FBI and European Enforcement Agencies Two people were arrested in Ukraine last month who allegedly demanded a ransom of several million dollars after the hacking of European and American organizations.

Timo Koster, a former Dutch diplomat who focuses on cyber security, said he hopes countries such as the US and the Netherlands will encourage other governments to take more assertive action against cybercriminal groups.

Koster told CNN “more international cooperation is needed” in coordinating how countries attribute cyberattacks to specific actors and on the responses of law enforcement and security agencies, Koster told CNN.

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