Russia arrests hacker in Colonial Pipeline attack, U.S. says

“I want to be very clear: In our minds, this is not about what is happening with Russia and Ukraine,” the official added.

Hacking group DarkSide, another suspected ransomware gang based in Russia, has been linked to the Colonial pipeline attack. The attack, and the consequent panic among consumers, led to gas shortages in many US states amid temporary pipeline closures.

The arrests came after months of negotiations between the Biden administration and Russian officials about the ransomware attack and other cyber security concerns, and the Federal Security Office said Friday that his actions are linked to “the allure of the appropriate US authorities.” Those efforts included a meeting between President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin last year in Geneva and follow-up talks by phone.

The arrests took place on the same day that hackers defaced and disrupted dozens of Ukrainian government websites, where experts suspect Russia is behind the attack.

The administration official stressed that while the arrests were “welcome,” they drew a clear line in the sand between the administration’s view of actions in Russia and the smears on the Ukrainian website.

Those arrested will remain in Russia, instead of being extradited to the United States. The senior official said the administration will monitor next steps there closely.

“We expect that Russia has announced arrests and that Russia will pursue legal proceedings within the framework of its judicial systems,” the official said, adding that “we expected that they would be brought to justice.”

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