A senior government official stated that Russia was not invited to participate in a virtual conference of 30 countries led by the United States, which aims to combat the growing threat of ransomware and other cybercrimes. Private-sector cybersecurity experts say that many ransomware groups come from Ukraine and Russia. Some US officials and analysts said that Russian ransomware gangs with the acquiescence of the Kremlin, but are not directly controlled by the government.

The conference will be held for two days, including six sessions. The topics include solving the abuse of virtual currency for money laundering, prosecuting ransomware criminals, diplomatic means to combat ransomware, and helping countries improve their ability to resist such attacks. The official said.

Together with the United States, four countries including India, Australia, Germany and the United Kingdom will take the lead in discussing topics such as subversion, virtual currencies and diplomacy. Other countries participating in the conference include Canada, France, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Mexico, Japan, Ukraine, Ireland, Israel, Africa, and the European Union.

“We are actively discussing with Russians, but in this particular forum, they are not invited to participate,” the senior government official said, adding that this does not exclude Russia from participating in future events.

The official said that the United States, under the US-Kremlin expert group established by the White House leader, President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin, directly contacted Russia on the issue of ransomware.

The official said that discussions with Russia are ongoing, the United States has shared information about specific criminals in Russia, and the country has taken preliminary measures to resolve the issues raised.

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After a series of attacks that threatened to destabilize the US energy and food supply this year, President Joe Biden has elevated cyber security responses to the highest level of the government.

In May, hackers attacked a pipeline operated by Colonial Pipeline, causing fuel disruption in the eastern United States.

The Biden administration hopes that the new informal group they the Anti-Ransomware Initiative will intensify their diplomatic efforts, which will include direct talks with Russia and the wealthy nations of the NATO alliance and the G7.

© Thomson Reuters 2021