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G7 Tells Russia to Crack Down on Ransomware, Other Cybercrime

At the latest Group of Seven (G7) summit, held June 11-13 in the UK, Western leaders called on Russia to take action against those who conduct ransomware attacks and other cybercrimes from within its borders.

In a communiqué issued after the conclusion of the summit, G7 countries vowed to work together to “further a common understanding of how existing international law applies to cyberspace” and collaborate to “urgently address the escalating shared threat from criminal ransomware networks.”

The G7 called on all states to “urgently identify and disrupt ransomware criminal networks operating from within their borders, and hold those networks accountable for their actions.”

However, they singled out Russia, and called on Moscow to halt its “destabilising behaviour and malign activities, including its interference in other countries’ democratic systems” and to “identify, disrupt, and hold to account those within its borders who conduct ransomware attacks, abuse virtual currency to launder ransoms, and other cybercrimes.”

In an interview with NBC News last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin denied that Russia is waging cyberwar against the United States.

Putin and US President Joe Biden are set to meet this week in Geneva, and Biden said he will bring up cybercrime. Ahead of the meeting, both leaders said they are open to the idea of reciprocal extradition of cybercriminals.

Russian threat actors have been officially blamed by the U.S. and other countries for several major cyberattacks, including espionage operations aimed at companies developing coronavirus vaccines. Most recently, Russia was sanctioned by the United States over the SolarWinds attack, and Russian cybercriminals have been blamed for the disruptive attacks on Colonial Pipeline and global meat processing giant JBS.

It has been widely claimed that cybercriminals operating out of Russia are shielded by the Russian government as long as they don’t target domestic entities. However, some believe that the Colonial Pipeline attack, which had a significant impact on the United States, may lead to some changes.

Related: U.S. Says Russia, Iran Attempted Interference in 2020 Presidential Election

Related: U.S. Planted Powerful Malware in Russia's Power Grid

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.