General News Jun 29, 2021

G7 Countries Vow To Fight the Global Ransomware Scourge

The United States and other G7 countries have expressed their commitment…


G7 countries have expressed their commitment in combatting the ever-increasing number of ransomware attacks across the world.

The United States, along with other global powers, have issued a warning to nations that have long been indifferent to locally-based ransomware groups that wreak havoc in other countries.

The warning follows a series of reports accusing a number of governments for turning a blind eye to cybercriminal activities happening within their border, including allegations that some countries have been engaging in state-sponsored cybercrime.

The leaders of the G7 group of countries have reached a consensus on the importance of joining forces to fight the common challenge that ransomware has become. The declaration, which was made at the G7 Summit in England was agreed upon by the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Canada, Italy, Japan, and the USA.

As confirmed by U.S. President Joe Biden, the scale and extent of recent high profile ransomware attacks have prompted the decision be G7 countries to combine resources in an effort to deal with ransomware attacks.

In recent times, ransomware groups have succeeded in pulling off some of the most destructive ransomware attacks against major corporations. Among the firms that have recently had their networks encrypted by ransomware is the Colonial Pipeline, an event that initiated one of America’s most notable fuel crises.

The meat processor JBS was also targeted in a ransomware attack that prompted the organization to suspend all affected systems, and  engage experts in trying to solve the situation.

Both ransomware attacks resulted in significant economic losses amounting to millions. Colonial Pipeline parted with more than $4.4 million in crypto, while JBS paid an $11 million ransom in exchange for access to its encrypted files. The U.S. Justice Department would later report that they successfully recovered the millions paid by Colonial Pipeline.

President Biden intimated that G7 leaders have agreed to collaborate in addressing cyber threats from both state-sponsored and non-state cybercriminal actors such as ransomware groups.

He also highlighted the fact that the countries have since made a commitment to hold countries accountable in bringing nations that protect ransomware groups to book. The same promise was made towards ascertaining that no countries will turn a blind eye to ransomware groups operating within their borders.

The Russian Issue

According to a joint statement that was released after the G7 Summit in Cornwall, the world leaders challenged Russia to “do more” concerning the stoppage of ransomware attacks that have been linked to Russian ransomware groups.

The G7 Summit called out Russia to identify, dismantle, and prosecute cybercriminals elements that have been operating within its borders for years. The threat actors have not only been launching ransomware attacks against foreign organizations, but engaging in crypto-enabled money laundering and other forms of internationally-recognized cybercrimes.

Notably, a large number of notable ransomware groups exist beyond Russian borders. Even though cybersecurity experts report that most law enforcement operations have succeeded in disrupting ransomware gangs, there is a consensus that Russian-based ransomware groups continue to prevail.

Instead of handing over cybercriminals for prosecution, the Russian government has been accused in the past of hiring suspects to help them attack international targets. This aspect was well reflected in a March 2017 press release reporting that the U.S. had charged Russian FSB agents and their coconspirators for launching an attack against Yahoo.

According to court documents, the FSB hired a cybercriminal on FBI’s “Cyber Most Wanted” list to breach the tech giant and harvest a massive database of half a billion email accounts. The Russian security agency went on to offer the suspect special protection by helping him to operate under the law enforcement radar.


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