Russia seems to be no longer going after REvil hackers
It’s over. Any lingering hope that Russian President Vladimir Putin might put a stop to the barrage of ransomware attacks hitting U.S. targets is officially dead.
Russian prosecutors appeared poised to suspend the only case they’d ever brought against top-shelf ransomware hackers, the Russian outlet Kommersant reports. The hackers were alleged members of the REvil gang, which U.S. officials have blamed for the largest ever U.S. ransomware attack, which hit IT service provider Kaseya last year.
The prosecutors are now highly unlikely to bring charges for that or any other REvil hacks that hit U.S. victims, the Russian outlet reported. The prosecutors blamed the United States for not sharing enough information to continue with the cases, according to the Kommersant article, which was titled “America doesn’t care about Russian hackers.”
Adding insult to injury: The prosecutors are mulling a deal to put the hackers to work for state security services “in the fight against hackers from Ukraine.”
- “The Russians were only going to cooperate if they thought it was in their interest. … And I don’t think they see any benefit right now,” Chris Painter, a former top State Department cyber official, told me.
The upshot: This means the Biden administration will face an even tougher fight to curtail the damage of ransomware — going up against an enemy that can act with relative impunity as long as its members remain on Russian soil.
Expectations were never high that a diplomatic approach would work with Russia on ransomware — even inside the Biden administration. But there was some optimism when Russian officials first…