Biden administration executives have excluded key players in the argument that they will focus on efforts to destroy and prosecute the ransomware network.
As ransomware attacks are rampant, the United States has been discussing cybersecurity strategies with 30 countries this week, excluding Russia, one of its key players.
The country that unknowingly hosts the many criminal organizations behind the ransomware attack was not invited to the two-day meeting starting Wednesday to develop new strategies to counter the threat.
The virtual discussion will focus in part on efforts to destroy and prosecute the ransomware network that attacked a major US pipeline company in May, government officials said. The attack on the Colonial Pipeline caused a gas shortage along the east coast, but was caused by a gang of Russian-based cybercriminals.
Excluding countries that are closely associated with the global ransomware phenomenon reflects the overall poor relationship between Moscow and Washington.
Nonetheless, the United States is using a “dedicated channel” to address cybersecurity with Russia, officials briefed reporters on the terms of anonymity this week with about 30 countries and the European Union. He said he had previewed the meeting.
Since President Joe Biden raised a direct issue with President Vladimir Putin at the summit and subsequent telephone calls this summer, there has been a “candid debate” about cybercriminals operating within the Russian border. Officials said.
“We have several, they are continuing, sharing information about certain criminals in Russia, and Russia is taking first steps,” officials said.
It is unclear what steps the Putin administration has taken. Russia has not handed over its citizens, and FBI Deputy Director Paul Abate told a security forum last month that “there are signs that the Kremlin has taken steps to crack down on ransomware attackers operating in a tolerant environment. I couldn’t see it. ” I created it there. ”
The issue was expected to be on the agenda in Moscow this week as Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland met with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov.
The Biden administration took office during a large-scale cyber espionage campaign known as the SolarWinds attack. This is linked by US authorities to Russian intelligence. Ransomware attacks are generally carried out by criminal hacker gangs rather than state-sponsored groups, costing businesses and institutions tens of billions of dollars and are a major source of tension between the two countries.
According to the US government, ransomware payments reached more than $ 400 million worldwide in 2020 and exceeded $ 81 million in the first quarter of 2021.
Actions taken by the Biden administration include imposing sanctions on Russia-based cryptocurrency brokers, authorities helped at least eight ransomware gangs wash their cryptocurrencies and put them in the pipeline. It states that it has issued a security directive calling for improved cyber defenses.
Most of this week’s ransomware conferences are expected to be private as participants will attend sessions led by India, Australia, the United Kingdom and Germany, focusing on topics such as developing resilience to withstand ransomware attacks. increase.
Other participants include Israel, United Arab Emirates, Bulgaria, Estonia, France, Dominican Republic, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore and Kenya.
US talks about global cybersecurity without Russia
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