SECURITY ENTHUSIAST

Over 30 countries are to be participants this week in a global anti-ransomware event that will unfold via virtual meetings. To these kinds of meetings, the White House National Security Council invited ministers and senior officials who represent the countries involved. This event has the goal to gather together states in a common effort against ransomware since it has been a real threat for a while.

In this sense, the White House released yesterday a fact sheet detailing the counter-ransomware event and the topics that will be addressed there, pointing out to ransomware payouts’ growth as they exceeded $400 million in 2020 all over the world and went beyond $81 million in 2021’s first quarter.

The Global Anti-Ransomware Event: Details

The global anti-ransomware event that will take place this week was announced by president Joe Biden on the 1st of October. He then specified that the U.S. will gather together partners and allies to join forces against ransomware attacks.

National resilience, illicit financing, disruption, and diplomacy are all topics that will be addressed in the virtual meetings. These join the Biden Administrations’s efforts which are organized in 4 directions, according to the fact sheet published and mentioned above:

  • Ransomware infrastructure and cybercriminals’ disruption: the U.S. government fights against ransomware operators and tries to cut off financial infrastructure.
  • The strengthening of resilience in order to stand firm against ransomware attacks: the private sector was advised by the President to accelerate its efforts to mitigate attacks.
  • The abuse of virtual currency to be addressed: as fiat currency is addressed by Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) controls, the same applies to virtual currency.
  • Fight against the ransomware ecosystem by making use of international cooperation as countries should improve detection and response to these types of cyberattacks.

Ceaseless Ransomware Attacks Lead to Global Anti-Ransomware Event

These kinds of measures follow the rapid growth in ransomware attacks’ numbers. Let’s remember the well-known one against JBS, the worldwide biggest meat processing enterprise, that ended up paying $11 million ransom to REvil ransomware group, Colonial Pipeline, the largest U.S. refined oil pipeline system which paid a ransom of $5 million in cryptocurrency to the threat actors or Kaseya, the American software enterprise, a victim of REvil Ransomware too. These attacks only revealed flaws that existed in critical infrastructure.

The Counter-Ransomware Initiative will meet over two days, and participants will cover everything from efforts to improve national resilience, to experiences addressing the misuse of virtual currency to launder ransom payments, our respective efforts to disrupt and prosecute ransomware criminals, and diplomacy as a tool to counter ransomware.

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Russia and China Were Not Invited to the Virtual Meetings

According to an official’s declaration from a press call on this topic, Russia and China were not among the countries invited in this first round of virtual meetings organized to fight against ransomware.

We’ve worked with allies and partners to hold nation-states accountable for malicious cyberactivity as evidenced by, really, the broadest international support we had ever in our attributions for Russia and China’s malicious cyber activities in the last few months. The Experts Group continues to meet to address the ransomware threat and to press Russia to act against criminal ransomware activities emanating from its territory. In this first round of discussions, we did not invite the Russians to participate for a host of reasons, including various constraints. (..) We’ve also shared information with Russia regarding criminal ransomware activity being conducted from its territory. We’ve seen some steps by the Russian government and are looking to see follow-up actions.

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What Other Measures Against Ransomware Have Been Implemented?

On the 28th of July, president Biden released a national security memorandum intended to improve cybersecurity regarding critical infrastructure.

Also, during the month of July, Interpol was warning about a “potential ransomware pandemic”, urging industry partners and police agencies to fight together against the threat of ransomware.

Ransomware Explained. What It Is and How It Works

Ransomware Payouts in Review. Highest Payments, Trends & Stats

A ‘Potential Ransomware Pandemic’ Must Be Prevented, Interpol Urges

A Closer Look at Ransomware Attacks: Why They Still Work

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