computer being held by ransomware

Christiaan Colen/Flickr (CC-BY-SA)

Ransomware group pledges to defend Russia if country is hit by cyberattacks

It raises interesting questions.


David Covucci


Posted on Feb 25, 2022   Updated on Feb 25, 2022, 12:01 pm CST

A prominent ransomware group announced its “full support” of the Russian government Friday, just days after the country launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

On a page on its leak site, the Conti Team said that anyone who organized a cyberattack or any other offensive against Russia would be subjected to retaliation by the group.

“The Conti Team is officially announcing a full support of Russian government. If anybody will decide to organize a cyberattack or any war activities against Russia, we are going to use our all possible resources to strike back at the critical infrastructures of an enemy,” the statement reads.

The Daily Dot was able to confirm the validity of the message on Conti’s leak site.

The announcement comes as complex matters of cybersecurity are flaring up in a war zone, perhaps for the first time. Russia has long been accused of launching cyber strikes against Ukraine, and as missiles flew and troops crossed the border, numerous cyber incidents were reported.

Then, late Thursday night, Russian state news site Russia Today went down. The country blamed Anonymous for the attack.

Conti was most recently flagged by the FBI for targeting medical providers and first responders in the U.S. According to the FBI, at least 16 attacks were launched, and the group has victimized approximately 290 entities.

Online cybersecurity researchers flagged the disturbing novelty of a criminal entity aligning with a state during a war.

Russia has long been known to harbor ransomware groups that have attacked the U.S. with impunity. Whether this will affect how the U.S. and other nations respond to the crisis is not yet known.

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*First Published: Feb 25, 2022, 11:57 am CST