The ransomware attack called Wannacry currently circling the globe almost certainly came from Russia. The initial exploit was leaked by the Shadow Brokers, which many in U.S. intelligence believe are tied to the Russian government, ransomware attacks are popular among Russian criminals and that Russia is the hardest hit points to a Russian criminal operation. But of course, Vladimir Putin isn’t about to acknowledge his government got humiliated by a bunch of crooks engaging in a penny-ante shakedown.
Putin is instead insisting the U.S. must be at fault, because they were supposedly the ones who found the leak and didn’t share it. Putin is claiming that instead this is a U.S. attack which “boomeranged,” an odd statement to make as the ransomware has yet to show any signs of being American in nature. In fact, Russia’s own cybersecurity experts are skeptical of that narrative:
“Special state cyberforces evidently would not exercise such a stupid attack,” Igor Ashmanov, a member of the Council for Digital Economy, a government advisory body, said in an interview. Any government-backed attack on Russian institutions would be considered an act of war, he said. And this time, he said, “of course it wasn’t Russian hackers,” given that Russia appeared to be a main target.
The reality is that Putin is likely projecting. Part of the fallout of the attack is that Russia’s claims of being an advanced cybersecurity nation have been put to the test and found wanting. We may never know exactly who’s behind the attack, but it’s clear that Russia’s belief that it’s on the cutting edge of cybersecurity may not be part of the facts. And considering the ongoing investigations into Russian hacking, both involving interference with the U.S. presidential election and its French counterpart, it’s no wonder that Putin is aiming to point blame elsewhere.