Nation state-sponsored threat actors develop, disseminate, and deploy ransomware in conjunction with lower sophistication threat actors as a means to disrupt critical infrastructures and covertly influence global great power competitions. While the profits from ransomware attacks appeal to lower-tier attackers and draw them into the threat landscape, nation-state APTs instead benefit from the disruption and chaos that results from both targeted and widespread attacks on the critical infrastructures of their geopolitical rivals.

This publication will discuss:

  • How and why nation-state sponsored advanced persistent (APT) threat actors support and leverage lower sophistication threat actors in ransomware campaigns.
  • The role of disruptionware in great power competition.
  • Key nation-state threat actors in disruptionware campaigns.
  • A “whole-of-nation” stakeholder response to combating ransomware.
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ICIT would like to thank the following Fellows and Contributors for offering their analysis and perspectives:

Parham Eftekhari, Chairman, ICIT & Senior Vice President and Executive Director,

the Cybersecurity Collaborative

Stan Mierzwa, Director and Adjunct Professor, Center for Cybersecurity, Kean University & CTO, Vennue Foundation

Laura Whitt-Winyard, Global CISO, DLL

Joyce Hunter, Executive Director, Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology (ICIT)

Ransomware Weaponized Nation States, Cryptocurrencies, and Great Power Competition