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Russia Influences Hackers but Stops Short of Directing Them, Report Says

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The Kremlin.

The report by the cybersecurity company Recorded Future backs up the assessments of American officials who have said Russia does not directly tell the groups what to do, but is aware of their activities and asserts influence.

Credit: Robert Schrader

Moscow's intelligence services have influence over Russian criminal ransomware groups and broad insight into their activities, but they do not control the organizations' targets, according to a report released on Thursday.

Some American officials said there had been a lull, at least for now, in major ransomware attacks against high-profile American critical infrastructure that were attributed to Russian criminal groups — a pause that reflects Moscow's ability to partly check the criminal networks operating in the country.

But a ransomware group that faded away after attacks over the summer, REvil, appears to have returned this week to the dark web and reactivated a portal victims use to make payments.

While attacks have fallen off, "it's a fair bet" that the criminal networks are looking for signals from the Russian government about how they can restart their attacks, said Chris Inglis, the national cyberdirector.

From The New York Times
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