MOSCOW, Jan 14 (Reuters) – Russia has dismantled ransomware crime group REvil at the request of the United States in an operation in which it detained and charged the group’s members, the FSB domestic intelligence service said on Friday.
The arrests were a rare apparent demonstration of U.S.-Russian collaboration at a time of high tensions between the two over Ukraine. The announcement came as Ukraine was responding to a massive cyber attack that shut down government websites, though there was no indication the incidents were related. read more
The United States welcomed the arrests, according to a senior admininstration official, adding “we understand that one of the individuals who was arrested today was responsible for attack against Colonial Pipeline last spring.”
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A May cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline that led to widespread gas shortages on the U.S. East Coast used encryption software called DarkSide, which was developed by REvil associates.
A police and FSB operation searched 25 addresses, detaining 14 people, the FSB said, listing assets it had seized including 426 million roubles, $600,000, 500,000 euros, computer equipment and 20 luxury cars.
A Moscow court identified two of the men as Roman Muromsky and Andrei Bessonov and remanded them in custody for two months. Muromsky could not be reached for comment and his phone was off. Reuters could not immediately reach Bessonov.
Two Muscovites told Reuters Muromsky was a web developer who had helped them with websites for their businesses.
Russia told Washington directly of the moves it had taken against the group, the FSB said. The U.S. Embassy in Moscow said it could not immediately comment.
“The investigative measures were based on a request from the … United States,” the FSB said. “… The organised criminal association has ceased to exist and the information infrastructure used for criminal purposes was neutralised.”
The REN TV channel aired footage of agents raiding homes and arresting people, pinning them to the floor, and seizing large piles of dollars and Russian roubles.
The group members have been charged and could face up to seven years in prison, the FSB…