White House Convenes Ransomware Summit

A two-day International Counter Ransomware Summit was held this past Monday and Tuesday. Leaders and experts from 36 countries collaborated on how to boost resilience against ransomware attacks.

At the summit, global leaders and experts created a Counter Ransomware Task Force that will act as a hub for joint efforts for threat sharing. A fusion center operating out of Lithuania’s Regional Cyber Defense Center will serve as a test case for a larger information-sharing scheme. It is set to launch into operation early next year.

Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo underlined the necessity of a global initiative to the ransomware threat. “We may approach the challenge of ransomware with a different lens — and in some cases, an entirely different set of tools — but we are all here because we know that ransomware remains a critical threat to victims across the globe and continues to be profitable for bad actors,” he said. “In fact, we know that hackers around the world consider conducting ransomware attacks the most profitable scheme on the internet. More profitable even than selling illegal drugs via dark net markets and stealing and selling stolen credit cards.”

In a related matter,  a staggering statistic was reported this Tuesday, Nov. 1. Reported first on CNN, the report claims that US financial institutions reported more than $1 billion in ransomware-related payments this fiscal year. That’s 100% more than in 2020. The CNN news piece highlights the risk that cyber attacks pose to all industries and ultimately, to national security. The Biden administration has continuously zeroed in on cyber security since the ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline that brought operations to a grinding halt in May 2021. But the CNN reports confirm that ransomware attacks remain a viable and staunch threat to national and economic security. 

As the White House wraps up its 2-day summit, from which Russia was notably absent, the expectation is for a fortification of requirements mandating companies to report ransomware attacks and a collaborative threat-sharing initiative that will allow for a global effort to aid in the thwarting of malicious attacks.

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