“I need to be very clear: In our thoughts, this isn’t associated to what’s occurring with Russia and Ukraine,” the official added.
The DarkSide hacking group, one other ransomware gang suspected of being primarily based in Russia, was linked to the assault on Colonial Pipeline. The assault, and an ensuing panic amongst shoppers, led to gasoline shortages in a number of U.S. states amid a brief shutdown of the pipeline.
The arrests adopted months of negotiations between the Biden administration and Russian officers across the ransomware assault and different cybersecurity considerations, and the FSB mentioned Friday that its actions had been tied to “the attraction of competent U.S. authorities.” These efforts included a gathering between President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin final 12 months in Geneva and observe up conversations by telephone.
The arrests befell the identical day hackers defaced and disabled dozens of Ukrainian authorities web sites, with consultants suspecting Russia to be behind the assault.
The administration official careworn that whereas the arrests had been “welcome,” they drew a transparent line in the sand between the administration’s view of the actions in Russia and the Ukrainian web site defacements.
The people arrested will stay in Russia, fairly than being extradited to the USA. The administration might be watching subsequent steps there intently, the senior official mentioned.
“Our expectation is that Russia introduced arrests and that Russia can be pursuing authorized motion inside its personal justice methods,” the official mentioned, including that it’s “our expectation that they be dropped at justice.”