Russia-based Conti ransomware corporation issues warning to Kremlin enemies

FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: Russian Embassy, ​​as President Biden announces new sanctions against Russia, in Washington
FILE PHOTO: A pedestrian holding an umbrella strolls outside the Embassy of the Russian Federation, near the Glover Park neighborhood of Washington, U.S., February 22, 2022. REUTERS/Tom Brenner/File Photo

February 25, 2022

By Christopher Bing

(Reuters) – A Russia-based cybercriminal group, known for using ransomware to extort millions of dollars from US and European companies, on Friday announced it would attack attackers. enemies of the Kremlin if it responds to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In a blog post, the Conti group said it was declaring “full support” of President Vladimir Putin’s government. On Thursday, Russian troops invaded neighboring Ukraine from the north, east and south, in the biggest assault on a European country since World War Two.

“If someone decides to organize a cyber attack or any kind of war operation against Russia, we will use all possible resources to attack the critical infrastructure of the enemy. enemies,” the Conti blog post reads.

Ukraine has been affected by digital intrusions and denial-of-service attacks both before and during the Russian invasion.

Reuters reported on Thursday that the Ukrainian government has called in volunteers from the country’s underground hacker force to help protect critical infrastructure and cyber espionage by the Russian military.

“Part of the actors involved in the Conti ransomware are based in Russia and some of the criminals operating since then have had ties to the intelligence apparatus,” said Kimberly Goody, director of US cybersecurity firm Mandiant. Russian newspaper”.

In the past, she said, the Kremlin has benefited from relationships with cybercriminals, “and even without direct instructions to act, these guys can still carry out ‘loving’ activities. country’ independently.”

Brett Callow, a threat analyst at New Zealand-based cybersecurity firm Emsisoft, noted that Conti has made “loud and outrageous” claims before. However, he recommended that American companies keep a close eye on their cyber defenses because cyberattacks in Ukraine could spill overseas.

First discovered in 2019, Conti has been blamed for ransomware attacks against multiple US and European companies.

In those incidents, Conti hackers breached the network and encrypted data, disrupting operations and demanding payment to restore access. Among the victims were a federal court in Louisiana and a hospital in New Mexico, according to research by Emsisoft.

In May, the FBI said Conti was responsible for attacks on 16 US health and first responders networks, Reuters previously reported.

(Reporting by Christopher Bing; Editing by Daniel Wallis) Russia-based Conti ransomware corporation issues warning to Kremlin enemies

Emma Bowman

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