UK Foreign Secretary calls on Russia to do more against state-backed cybercrime

The UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has said Russia must do more to tackle cybercriminals operating from within their national borders.

Talking at the National Cyber Security Centre’s CYBERUK 21 conference, Raab challenged Russian authorities to tackle the growing threat of cybercrime in the region and said they must do more to prosecute gangs instead of ‘shielding them’.

The UK as well as the US recently called out Russia’s involvement in the SolarWinds hack which affected considerably a number of US government departments, cybersecurity companies and technology firms.

Alongside Russia, the MP for Esher and Walton referenced Iran, China and North Korea as perpetrators of nation-state-backed hacking campaigns – accusing the aforementioned regions of using technology ‘to sabotage and steal, or to control and censor’.

The comments by Raab come off the back of the recent Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack, which saw operations at the pipeline brought to a standstill.

The pipeline – which transports 100 million gallons of fuel daily to customers from New York to Texas – is the largest pipeline for moving gas and diesel products in the US at 2.7 million miles.

A few days later, the FBI has declared that the cybercriminal behind the recent Colonial Pipeline was a ransomware variant known as DarkSide – a ransomware group highly suspected to be operating out of Russia.

Raab said, “When states like Russia have criminals or gangs operating from their territory, they can’t just wave their hands and say nothing to do with them – even when it’s not directly linked to the state, they have a responsibility to prosecute those gangs and those individuals, not to shelter them.”

While the threat of cyberattacks will remain – and most likely get stronger as the world continues to move more online – Raab said the UK is working on bolstering its cyber capabilities when it comes to defending against attacks.

He added, “We’re getting better at detecting, disrupting and deterring our enemies. Acting with partners around the world, we name and shame the perpetrators.

“We did this last month with the SolarWinds attack, exposing the depth and the breadth of cyber activities by the Russian intelligence service, the SVR. And by revealing the tools and techniques malicious cyber actors are using, we can help our citizens and our businesses to see the signs early on and help them protect themselves from threats.”

Raab concluded by saying it will be ‘a marathon and a war of attrition to keep the UK safe from cyber threats, however he claimed the UK government will keep ‘relentlessly shining a light’ on such activities.

The head of GCHQ Jeremy Fleming recently claimed the UK and its allies face a ‘moment of reckoning’ where the global direction of cybersecurity may not be ‘shaped and controlled by the west’.

Copyright © 2021 FinTech Global

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