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Russian Hackers Sanctioned Over Cyber-Crime

James Capell
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Seven Russian hackers have been sanctioned by the UK and US over allegations that they are part of a ransomware cyber-crime gang.

The men have had their assets frozen, been given a travel ban and had their pictures posted online. The US accuse them of being members of a Russian hacking gang named Trickbot that has Russian state backing.

National Crime Agency director general Graeme Biggar said, “This is a hugely significant moment for the UK and our collaborative efforts with the US to disrupt international cyber-criminals. The sanctions are the first of their kind for the UK and signal the continuing campaign targeting those responsible for some of the most sophisticated and damaging ransomware that has impacted the UK and our allies.”

It’s reported that the gang used ransomware named Conti and Ryuk to extort over $32 million from UK companies. The total global amount could be much more but effected companies are often reluctant to say that they have been a victim of ransomware attacks. It is estimated that cyber-crime cost the global economy $170 billion in 2020.

Russian Hackers Allegedly Responsible for Majority of State-backed Cyber-attacks

The sanctions are part of a wider crackdown on cyber-crime. In July 2022, the FBI infiltrated the Hive hacking group that allegedly stole over $100 million from 1,500 victims in 80 countries. However, infiltrating and arresting members doesn’t put a stop to the illegal activities. It’s often the case that after getting busted the gangs disband and reform. It’s alleged that the sanctioned men were previous members of Hive.

One of the reasons it’s hard to crack down on cyber-crime is because hackers are said to be given safety from the Russian government. Cyber-criminals often communicate online in Russian and Russian organisations are less frequently targeted. According to BBC reporter Joe Tidy, “ The golden rule of hacking is that non-state-employed criminal hackers can hack who they like, as long as the victims are not in Russian-speaking or former Soviet territories.”

The global threat of cyber-crime continues to grow, with ransomware attacks causing widespread damage and financial loss for companies and governments. The recent sanctions against the seven Russians are a sign that nations are taking the issue seriously and are willing to take action to combat the problem. However, with cyber-criminals becoming increasingly sophisticated, it is crucial for governments to remain vigilant and continue their efforts to prevent and disrupt these types of crimes.

James Capell

James Capell

Technical editor and journalist. I have a particularly strong interest in NLP, AI ethics and cyber crime. Not too fond of cats.

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