Hacking accusations are meant to stir conflict ahead of US summit, Russian president says

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday said that accusations that the Russian state is in anyway linked to a recent ransomware attack against global meat supplier JBS are “nonsense.”

The FBI has blamed the attack on REvil, a group thought to be based out of Russia. U.S. officials have not tied the attack to the Russian government. That breach came after an unrelated incident against Colonial Pipeline, a major U.S. fuel supplier, in which the FBI blamed another alleged Russia-based gang, DarkSide.

“I have heard about some meat processing company, it’s nonsense, we understand it’s just laughable. A pipeline? It’s nonsense, too,” Putin told a Russian news station.

U.S. President Joe Biden emphasized in May that U.S. intelligence officials do not believe the Russian government was involved in the Colonial Pipeline hack.

“We do not believe — emphasis on we do not believe — the Russian government was involved in this attack,” Biden said.

The accusations are meant to “provoke some new conflicts before our meeting with Biden,” Putin alleged, referring to a summit between the world leaders scheduled to take place later this month.

The White House says that Biden will address the recent ransomware attacks and Russia’s alleged harboring of cybercriminals at the summit.

The United States has made a push for allies to put pressure on any countries that provide a safe haven to cybercriminals. U.S. law enforcement has apprehended a number of accused hackers from Russia only after they exit Russian borders, typically when they are on vacation.

“Time and time again, a huge portion of those traced back to actors in Russia,” FBI director Chris Wray told the Wall Street Journal Friday. “And so, if the Russian government wants to show that it’s serious about this issue, there’s a lot of room for them to demonstrate some real progress that we’re not seeing right now.”

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