Surprising names emerge in ransomware gang interview

It is only a passing mention, and there is no accusation of any wrongdoing. This October 2020 interview with a Russian ransomeware operator, translated and transcribed in July, has many interesting parts, including the discussion of industries the gangs target and the structure of the ransomware groups. By far, the most interesting line is this exchange on the donations to charity the group may make.

Interviewer: Do you do charity work? For example donating to various open source foundations, the Tor Project, the Electronic Frontier Foundation?

REvil: Possibly.

This is interesting for two reasons. There has been more attention paid to the torrent of Kremlin-aligned donations to Western charities in recent years. They are done to launder the reputations of Russian oligarchs, and expand their influence deeper into Western society.

The second reason is that such donations can support organisations and arguments that further polarize debate in the West – particularly the tech debate. The issue of encryption is a genuine challenge for the lawful society of the West. People like Edward Snowden (or at least his Twitter account operated from Russia) counsel no compromise on the issue. To fund more voices in this space that counsel dogmatism where sensible compromise is needed, would be an effective way of distorting debate. We’ve seen this in funding of fringe political groups, and politicians. Why not Silicon Valley too? 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s