G7 leaders unite against Russian ransomware attacks 

In the joint statement issued at the end of the summit, the leaders of the seven wealthiest countries in the world demanded Russia to identify and disrupt ransomware criminal networks operating from within its borders, and hold those networks accountable for their actions

The G-7 leaders meeting in Cornwall on Sunday. Photo: REUTERS/Phil Noble/Pool

The leaders of the G-7 countries held a summit meeting over the weekend in Cornwall, Britain, and committed to cooperate in developing and carrying out measures to increase security online and to jointly fight cybercrime. They specifically demanded that Russia take measures against cybercriminals carrying out attacks from Russian territory.  

"We reaffirm our call on Russia to stop its destabilising behaviour and malign activities, including its interference in other countries’ democratic systems, and to fulfil its international human rights obligations and commitments," said the joint statement issued at the end of the summit that called on Russia, among other things, "to identify, disrupt, and hold to account those within its borders who conduct ransomware attacks, abuse virtual currency to launder ransoms, and other cybercrimes." 

It should be pointed out that the two recent significant cyberattacks in the U.S., on Colonial Pipeline and on the American network of meat processing company JBS, are attributed to a hacker group named DarkSide that cyber experts and intelligence link to the Russian regime. This, of course, is in addition to the proven Russian interference in at least the last two U.S. election campaigns, and to many other attempts to undermine American democracy using online means (At a press conference in Cornwall, in response to a question regarding his upcoming meeting with Putin, Biden said that he told Putin "that I was going to find out whether or not" Putin tried to interfere in the U.S. elections, "and if I did, I was going to respond").

More broadly, the leaders committed to promote a more inclusive agenda and work together "to urgently address the escalating shared threat," and called on all states, in the same way they called on Russia, "to urgently identify and disrupt ransomware criminal networks operating from within their borders, and hold those networks accountable for their actions."

"In just the last few weeks there have been several significant cyber intrusions affecting many G7 and other nations' critical infrastructure, manufacturing and electronics firms, and hospitals," a statement issued by the White House said. Those criminals are "often operating from geographic locations that offer a permissive environment for carrying out such malicious cyber activities," so the international community must work together "to bolster our collective cyber defenses," it added. 

In the same context, the leaders discussed the importance of securing supply chains and the central role of telecommunications infrastructure as well as existing and future technologies, such as 5G and future communication technologies, and declared that they will promote secure, resilient, competitive, transparent and sustainable ICT infrastructure supply chains. In addition, the leaders called on their foreign ministers to work on a joint agreement by all seven countries on sharing of information and best practices for dealing with online forms of gender-based violence.

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