A man wearing a hood in front of computer

Russia arrests 14 members of gang behind $200M ransomware payments

Russian authorities have busted one of the world’s most destructive ransomware gangs. The country’s domestic intelligence service claims to have cracked down on REvil and arrested 14 of its members, acting on the request of U.S. authorities.

In a press release, the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) claimed that REvil has ‘ceased to exist’ after it busted its operations, arrested the members, and seized millions in luxury cars, computer equipment, and digital currencies.

REvil has been one of the most notorious cybercrime gangs in the past few years, wreaking havoc across the globe. It was alleged to be behind some of the most high-profile ransomware activities, including the infamous Colonial Pipeline hack that brought the U.S. East Coast to a standstill. It was also behind an attack on the world’s largest meat supplier JBS as well as the attack on Kaseya, a software firm that gave REvil access to over 1,500 of its customers.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, REvil has received over $200 million in extortion payments, with a large chunk of it being paid through digital currencies.

The days of online terror caused by REvil may be behind us, according to FSB. It claimed to have been acting upon the request of U.S. authorities when it arrested the 14 members of REvil, seizing $6.8 million in various currencies, including digital currencies and computer equipment, as well as 20 luxury cars linked with the crime ring.

The action comes six months since U.S. President Joe Biden reportedly pressed Russian President Vladimir Putin to take action against Russia-based ransomware groups. 

“I made it very clear to [Putin] that the United States expects, when a ransomware operation is coming from their soil even though it’s not, not, sponsored by the state, that we expect them to act,” Biden said at the time.

The action comes despite the U.S. overlooking Russia in October 2021 when it convened a meeting of 30 countries for ransomware and cybersecurity talks. It also comes amid reports that hackers targeting digital currency entities were camping out of Vostok, the tallest skyscraper in Moscow.

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