Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) says its officers detained, at the request of the United States, several alleged hackers belonging to the Sodinokibi/REvil ransomware group that is suspected of being behind last year’s ransomware attack on the Florida-based software firm Kaseya that impacted up to 1,500 businesses around the world.

According to a January 14 statement from the FSB, the suspects were apprehended in Moscow, St. Petersburg, as well as other regions through a joint investigation by the FSB and the Interior Ministry.

The U.S. State Department had announced a reward of up to $10 million for information leading to the identification or location of anybody holding a leadership position in the Sodinokibi/REvil ransomware crime group.

The State Department also offered up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest and conviction in any country of any individual participating in Sodinokibi/REvil ransomware attacks.

REvil, a group of Russian-speaking hackers, has been blamed for a series of high-profile ransomware attacks in which hackers encrypt victims’ data and then demand cryptocurrency to regain access.

Ransomware has become a top priority for many governments around the world as the number and severity of cases has surged in recent years, impacting a wide array of industries from retail and food to health care and critical infrastructure.

According to the U.S. Treasury Department, ransomware payments in the United States so far have reached $590 million in the first half of 2021, compared to a total of $416 million in 2020.

Questions about the fate of the group emerged in July when webpages linked to REvil disappeared from the dark web, sparking speculation about whether the move was the result of a government-led action.

Based on reporting by TASS and Interfax

www.rferl.org

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