Cyber-criminals as semi-state actors: weaponising ransomware and the Russia/Ukraine conflict

Presented by ANU College of Asia & the Pacific

Cybercrime has recently become a tool in the conduct of inter-state conflict and warfare. This seminar presents from work done for the Global Initiative against Transnational Crime relating to the role of Russian ransomware gangs in the Russian/Ukraine conflict.

Ransomware is a form of cyber extortion that involves the encryption, and sometimes the destruction or public release of, data held by governments, private entities, and crucially, affecting critical infrastructure.

It will look at recent ransomware activity by pro-Russian cybercrime gangs, the gangs in question, their relations to Russian state agencies, and reflect on the strategic dimensions of ransomware as a form of offensive cyber operation as well as its characteristics as a form of transnational cybercrime.

About the speaker

Andrew Goldsmith is Matthew Flinders Distinguished Emeritus Professor of Criminology at Flinders University, Adelaide. His previous roles have included Executive Director of the Centre for Transnational Crime Prevention, University of Wollongong and Director, Centre for Crime Policy and Research, Flinders University, and Visiting Professor, RegNet, ANU.

He is completing his 6th (and final) year as co-editor of the Journal of Criminology, formerly the ANZ Journal of Criminology. He has held and led ARC Discovery and Linkage grants on topics such as transnational policing in the Pacific, organised crime and illicit weapons, and youth pathways into cybercrime. He has been a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia since 2016.

COVID protocols

  • Please do not attend this event if you feel unwell, are awaiting the results of a test or are required to self-isolate/quarantine. The ANU's COVID Safety advice can be accessed here.
  • The ANU will continue to require that masks be worn indoors for the foreseeable future, except when eating or drinking.
  • Attendees are encouraged to use hand sanitiser and the Check in CBR app at the entrance to the building.
  • Please maintain good social hygiene by staying 1.5m apart from others and coughing/sneezing into elbows.

This seminar presentation will be in-person only.

Image credit: Image of sinister unidentifiable hacker by Pete Linforth from pixabay; free to use under pixabay license.


Date and Times


Room: Seminar Room 1.04