back to article Russia starts playing by the rules: FSB busts 14 REvil ransomware suspects

Russia's internal security agency said today it had dismantled the REvil ransomware gang's networks and raided its operators' homes following arrests yesterday in Ukraine. In a statement the FSB (Federal Security Service) said "based on the appeal of the US competent authorities" it had raided 25 addresses apparently belonging …

  1. Androgynous Cow Herd

    "Ceased to exist"

    Meanwhile, in a windowless room in the basement of Lubyanka....

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: "Ceased to exist"

      With a sign reading остерегайтесь леопарда?

      1. Clausewitz 4.0
        Devil

        Re: "Ceased to exist"

        Slavik is a good programmer. With a good team he can easily program Stuxnet-like stuff.

      2. Tail Up

        Re: "Ceased to exist"

        "осторожно, леопард"

        nevertheless, the sign has a quantum nature, two readings: "beware of leopard" and "leopard, beware", depending of the stressed word

        if leopard could read, of course

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
          Happy

          Re: "Ceased to exist"

          Hence the famous proverb, "Red Square at night, leopard's delight."

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Three options

    - it was all just theater

    - they didn't share enough of their profits

    - Putin needed them for cyber attacks on Ukraine

    1. Precordial thump

      Re: Three options

      All of the above. Ukraine in 2022 is starting to look just like Poland in 1939.

      1. Tail Up

        Re: Three options

        No

        1. Precordial thump

          Re: Three options

          I think you mean Нет.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Clausewitz 4.0
      Devil

      Re: Three options

      NSA/CIA/FBI do recruit also this way.

    4. Potemkine! Silver badge

      Re: Three options

      Fourth option: REvil was a bargain in negotiations with the US.

      All of these options are not mutually exclusive.

  3. The Sprocket

    Yup. Smells like theatre to me as well.

  4. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    An Impressively Disturbing Feat and AWEsome NEUKlearer HyperRadioProACTive IT Development

    In a statement the FSB (Federal Security Service) said "based on the appeal of the US competent authorities" it had raided 25 addresses apparently belonging to "14 members of an organised criminal community.”

    If the appealing US competent authorities also provided the addresses to raid, now that would be a story and a half to tell on a similar par above the one which has the FSB themselves knowing where visit to capture and captivate crooked ne’er-do-well crack hackers? In any event though, it is still also great state theatre.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Question....

    Ukraine is not part of Russia (yet). I assume this wasn't the FSB doing the raiding over there?

    1. OhThatGuy

      Re: Question....

      The eastern part of Ukraine is, more or less.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Question....

        obviously didn't pay a high enough bribe to the local gangsters for the electricity bill.

  6. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge
    Coat

    Russia's internal security agency said today it had dismantled the REvil ransomware gang's networks and raided its operators' homes following arrests yesterday in Ukraine.

    Cool story, bruh comrade.

  7. low_resolution_foxxes Silver badge

    Crap. Wonder how that conversation went on? But surely if based in Ukraine we could figure that out..

    Perhaps they are a potential flashpoint, with 100,000 Russian troops on the border of Ukraine, your telling me they just happen to claim that Russian secret services are in Ukraine, in order to close down a Russian elite hacking group? Sounds like a pre-text to justifying a ground invasion to me..

    1. Tail Up

      No. But the original text of the Reg's article allows the reader this funny, if we may say so, understanding.

  8. chivo243 Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Hey you over there

    We like your work, now you work for us! I'm sure there's a Yakov Smirnoff joke in there somewhere, but it's early for me...

    1. TimMaher Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Smirnoff

      We used to have lots of jokes based on the Smirnoff vodka TV adverts.

      Such as “I thought Fellatio was a character in Hamlet... until I discovered Smirnoff.”

      I’ll get mine.

      1. Jedit
        Pint

        "I’ll get mine."

        I thought El Reg was a car licence plate until I discovered Smirnoff!

  9. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "few expected Russia to arrest ransomware gang members before today"

    I don't think anybody was expecting that.

    When I started reading this article, my eyes went wide open.

    Now that I have finished reading it though, the fact that Russian FSB agents are operating in Ukraine, a nominally indepent country, is telling. I'm sure that, normally, Russia should have asked Ukraine to take care of the arrests. It doesn't sound like there was any such diplomatic niceities. Putin just sent in his jackboots and they did the job.

    As if Ukraine was part of Russia.

    I'm glad those bastards got their comeuppance, but I would have been happier if it had been in a proper, legal fashion.

    1. Steve Graham

      Re: "few expected Russia to arrest ransomware gang members before today"

      Read the article again, more carefully.

    2. 5n0wcha1ns

      Re: "few expected Russia to arrest ransomware gang members before today"

      FSB agents never left Ukraine after 1991. they just wandered off.... (after burning down their local offices with all the records in) and found alternative work in security.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    FSB wasn't operating in Ukraine!!!

    There were two different operations, one -already covered by El Reg- involved the arrest of five people (a couple and their sons) by the Ukrainian police. Then we have this other piece, detailing the cuffing of 14 in Russia.

  11. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Devil

    I guess

    the ransomware gang hit a russian company judging by the response*

    The rest of the time the FSB goes 'meh'

    *or failed to pay the bribes on time

  12. Steve Graham

    Note to Sub-Ed: FSB is not, technically, "military".

    1. Clausewitz 4.0
      Devil

      That's the GRU

    2. Tail Up

      service includes coint functionality

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Political Theatre as always ... loud/big on the effects ... small on the amount of truth involved.

    The REvil ransomware gang went comparitatively quiet some time ago, after the US of A complained. (Prompted by a slap on the wrist from Putin ???)

    It now suits Putin to 'demonstrate' how russia deals with these gangs ..... quelle surprise they were 'there' all the time, who could have known !!!???

    More concerning is the so called link to Ukraine, which will have a small but important use when Russia decide Ukraine needs their help and they send in 'requested' troops/military advisors.

    All they need to do is 'discover' a link to the politicians they would like to 'disappear' and then the oppresed 'Pro-russian' ukrainians (False flag !!!???) request russia to help save their country from such corrupt western practices :)

    Popcorn, both savoury & sweet, is available in the lobby.

    1. Tail Up

      Re: Political Theatre as always

      why so much Putin? liver don't seem to be such a higher-up onstage to rank it top lay

      1. Precordial thump

        Re: Political Theatre as always

        My hovercraft is full of eels.

  14. Sixtiesplastictrektableware

    And the World Shrugged in Meh...

    Sorry to get all nihilistic on it, but if you don't care about this stuff there's plenty of diversion to choose from.

    If you have even a portion of cerebral activity, you can quietly get around all these guys and discreetly choose from the plenty of diversion.

    I suppose I'm just wondering who's watching the theeyater, and how could you get anyonebody to give a crap if they dood?

    Reminds of the old gag: "What if you threw a war and nobody came?"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And the World Shrugged in Meh...

      Sixtiesplastictrektableware,

      If only not caring made it all go away !!!

      Unfortunately, if it involves Russia and the US of A ... to extend your gag ... "the war will come to you !!!"

      Russia and China see the US of A as being weak ... mortally wounded by the 'Trump' presidency and the blind 'tribal' political war between Republicans and Democrats.

      Trump did not want to continue Americas position as the Global policeman for Democracy.

      Biden pulled out of Afghanistan to draw a line under all the extreme cost of the 'war' in money & lives, with a very personal 'driver' allowing him to ignore the very real consequences of the hasty exit.

      This signalled the opportunity for both russia & china to 'push' the US of A to see how far they would move to avoid conflict.

      Both Vladimir Putin & Xi Jinping have been playing a long game which is now reaching the critical phase.

      Best of luck with the 'Ignore it & it will go away' strategy, but history tells us that it very rarely works in the long run. :)

      1. martinusher Silver badge

        Re: And the World Shrugged in Meh...

        >Russia and China see the US of A as being weak

        It is, unfortunately. It shouldn't be but we focus so much on 'over there' to the neglect of 'over here' that we're rotting out the core to keep the polish up on the skin, as it were.

        >Trump did not want to continue Americas position as the Global policeman for Democracy.

        Trump is ignorant and vain, the sort that's a light snack to the Alpha-plus types that infest Washington. So he might not have been interested in global policing but people like Pompero and Bolton most definitely were. We just went all in for sanctions because our military had been ground down by Afghanistan and Iraq plus maintaining a presence in about 800 bases world wide. Its bankrupting us.

        >Both Vladimir Putin & Xi Jinping have been playing a long game which is now reaching the critical phase.

        They are doing what's best for their country. It would be wonderful if our legislators would do what's best for our country rather than what benefits their sponsors. (The UK's in the same position -- you've got a serious disconnect between Westminster and the lives of ordinary people.)

        You can't read any media in the US at the moment without being bombarded by War Fever. Ultimately its not us reacting to 'moves' by Russia and China, its us playing a zero-sum game where anything short of a loss for them has to be a loss for us. The problem we face is that, increasingly, 'they' just don't care -- we're a dangerous nuisance but increasingly irrelevant on the global stage because we just don't have anything to offer that people want.

        1. BOFH in Training

          Re: And the World Shrugged in Meh...

          I agree that Xi Jinping may be doing what is best for China. Disagree that Putin is doing what is best for Russia.

          1. Fred Daggy
            Flame

            Re: And the World Shrugged in Meh...

            Both of them are doing what is best for themselves, any good for the country is a pure coincidence. Trump likewise - he just wasn't any good at it. Trump was too weak to pull the trigger himself and go for another civil war. He very probably could have taken over the capital with a little more welly

            It just going to show that so long as ones rule can go on for lifetime, all leaders will eventually become despots. 10 years, max - 8 years and no more is probably better.

  15. Clausewitz 4.0
    Devil

    Sting Operations and Red Team

    As a professional in the information security field, I advise all engineers to produce a signed contract, in which you are immune from prosecution, before engaging in any Red Team or pentest operation.

    I have a few of those contracts signed with clients.

    Turns out some jobs may have been a sting operation, but thanks to my signed contracts, I am immune to prosecution.

    1. Ropewash

      Re: Sting Operations and Red Team

      If you are lucky enough to live somewhere that honours such immunities.

      Otherwise, you're holding a wad of signed toilet paper.

      1. Clausewitz 4.0
        Devil

        Re: Sting Operations and Red Team

        I didn't said cooperation in the use of force isn't necessary. In fact, it is complementary.

  16. martinusher Silver badge

    What rules?

    The US has long been a target for bad actors because "its where the money is". Scamming the gullible is worth doing in the US because there's money here but the same can't be said about a lot of Russians. They don't have assets in hard currencies that are immediately convertible (if they do they're probably not the sort of people you'd want to get on the wrong side of). Since the scammers aren't breaking local laws, at least none that can't be dealt with flexibly, there has been no incentive to find them, much less deal with them.

    Inida is well known as a hot bed of phone scams. They're technically illegal there but enforcement is lax to non-existent (and probably also 'flexible').

    1. Clausewitz 4.0
      Devil

      Re: What rules?

      Also because of blow backs.

      Do you think those hit by bombs or Stuxnet do not want to hit back?

  17. Binraider Silver badge

    Meanwhile, FSB sets up another front with 14 new, highly skilled employees?

    1. You aint sin me, roit Silver badge
      Holmes

      I thought REvil were part of FSB

      Or at least sponsored by them.

      With enhanced plausible deniability now we have vids of "raids"...

  18. Irony Deficient Silver badge

    It seems unlikely that Russian members of REvil will be extradited to the US to stand trial.

    Members of REvil who are Russian citizens will not be extradited from Russia to the US because Article 61 of the Russian constitution guarantees that Russian citizens will not be extradited from Russia to any other country.

    1. Alumoi Silver badge

      Re: It seems unlikely that Russian members of REvil will be extradited to the US to stand trial.

      But, if there's an interest, they can be persuaded to board a flight to US.

    2. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: It seems unlikely that Russian members of REvil will be extradited to the US to stand trial.

      I'm sure the Russian constitution promises all kind of stuff.

  19. clyde666

    Coincidence?

    Maybe coincidence, but I noticed a huge drop in spam traffic to one of my servers last week.

    Anyone else see this?

  20. Plest Bronze badge
    Boffin

    Well we know what happen 5mins after the FSB busted into the room...

    "Listen guys, you sign this document and you take the government cyberhacking jobs OR you'd better make sure your mums have packed plenty of warm underwear 'cos it gets really cold up in those hidden Siberian gulags this time of year."

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