REvil Cyber Ransomware Gang Members Arrested

The Federal Security Service (FSB) of the Russian Federation say they have shut down the REvil ransomware gang after German authorities identifed the gang the leader. At least 14 members of the cyber crime group have been arrested following police raids at 25 addresses, the security agency said  in a statement 

Raids were conducted at 25 residents owned by 14 members suspected to be part of the REvil team across Moscow, St. Petersburg, Leningrad, and the Lipetsk regions. Authorities said they seized more than 426 million roubles, $600,000, and €500,000 in cash, along with crypto currency wallets, computers and expensive cars.

The United States had offered a reward of up to $10m (£7.3m) for information leading to the gang members, following ransomware attacks. Russia's intelligence bureau FSB said the group had "ceased to exist", however, it does not appear that any Russian members of the gang will be extradited to the United States. 

According to the Russian state news service Tass, REvil "developed malicious software" and "organised the theft of money from the bank accounts of foreign citizens".

In addition to cash and crypto-currency tokens, the Russian authorities confiscated 20 luxury cars purchased with money obtained from cyber attacks, computer equipment and crypto currency wallets used to develop and maintain the criminal operation."The organised criminal association has ceased to exist and the information infrastructure used for criminal purposes was neutralised," the FSB said in a statement.

The Russian announcement comes during a tense confrontation between the United States and Russia over the national integrity of Ukraine which has been subject to a wave of damaging cyber attacks against government websites.

The FSB has not released the names of any of the suspects. However, the Russian security service says it “established the full composition of the REvil criminal community,” suggesting the main leaders behind the gang have been detained. The gang’s widespread hacking activities prompted US President Joe Biden administration to order US intelligence agencies to investigate REvil along with ither foreig hackers.  

Future Ransomware Attacks

There was a turning point in 2021 in the fight against ransomware as the collaboration among law enforcement agencies led to high-profile arrests, and the business of ransomware has become riskier for criminals. Western law enforcement agencies formed dedicated units, including Europol’s Joint Cybercrime Action Task Force or the FBI’s National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force. This led to breakthrough arrests and the seizure of millions of dollars in crypto currency, however, the bigger these groups become, the more of a target they are for law enforcement.

As a result, cyber criminals are diversifying their methods to avoid detection by using a wider variety of attack vectors. 

Some of the groups are automating their attacks or reducing their reliance on affiliates, partner organisations that help identify and infect targets with their malware. Looking forward, the concentration of ransomware gangs into fewer, more powerful groups means that companies in the private sector must maintain the highest levels of alert.

TASS:   The Record:     BBC:      WashPo:    Vice:      Bleeping Computer:    PCMag:   ZDNet:     I-HLS:

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