Ransomware operators threaten cyberattacks if Russia attacked

Criminal ransomware operators are posting messages on the dark web pledging to launch retaliatory cyberattacks if Russia is attacked.

The ransomware group Conti, which experts say has ties to Russia, said in a note on its dark web site Friday that it would “use all our possible resources to strike back at the critical infrastructures of an enemy.”

Ransomware gangs are mostly Russian-speaking and operate with near impunity out of Russia and allied countries.

In a follow up note, the Conti group stressed it was not an ally of any government and said: “we condemn the ongoing war.”

Major ransomware attacks in the last year, including against the biggest U.S. fuel pipeline, have underscored how gangs of extortionist hackers can disrupt the economy and put lives and livelihoods at risk. The U.S. government has been warning critical infrastructure entities to prepare for possible attacks and to make sure their defenses are up to date.

Non-state hackers have promised to be active in both sides of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. The online collective Anonymous recently pledged to conduct cyberattacks to support Ukraine.