US and Russian officials to discuss recent cybercrimes

US and Russian officials are expected to meet virtually today to discuss cybersecurity. Today’s discussion will continue the discourse begun

Rob Engelaar ANP AFP

Photo: Rob Engelaar/ANP/AFP

US and Russian officials are expected to meet virtually today to discuss cybersecurity.

Today’s discussion will continue the discourse begun by Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin in their June 16 meeting. No meeting agenda has been released, though, they will likely discuss actions against Russian ransomware groups which have disrupted critical US infrastructure and extorted major international companies.

Ransomware attacks by cybercriminals have greatly increased in recent months. Moscow has largely ignored these cybercriminals as they do not target Russian institutions. President Biden recently promised to retaliate against continued attacks if Putin does not take action. The disappearance of REvil—a major ransomware group—hints that Washington may have already taken action.

Expect today’s talks to continue pushing Moscow to shut down Russia-based cybercriminals. In the short-term, Russia will likely state they will comply. This may bring limited joint US-Russia cybersecurity operations targeting more ransomware dark-web sites to obstruct hostile actors.

In the medium- to long-term, however, Russian state-sponsored cyber operations will not stop. Instead, more sophisticated attacks by Russian government agencies will target sensitive information and infrastructure to gain intelligence and threaten discord rather than extort money, provoking US cyber-espionage operations in response.

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