US officials close to persuading allies to end ransomware payments

US officials close to persuading allies to end ransomware payments

October 31, 2023 at 06:56PM

Top White House officials are working to secure an agreement among nearly 50 countries to not pay ransoms to cybercriminals. This initiative is being discussed at the Counter Ransomware Initiative (CRI) summit in Washington DC. The summit also focuses on leveraging artificial intelligence to track cryptocurrency payments, enhancing information sharing, and declaring a joint policy against paying ransoms. The United States is the most-targeted country, accounting for 46% of global attacks. The private sector and law enforcement need to take more aggressive actions to combat ransomware.

The main takeaways from the meeting notes are as follows:

1. The US-led Counter Ransomware Initiative (CRI) summit is taking place in Washington DC, with the goal of reaching an agreement between almost 50 countries to not pay ransom demands to cybercriminals.

2. The no-ransom-payments pledge is expected to be one of the major achievements of the summit.

3. The summit will focus on three main themes: launching capabilities, information-sharing, and fighting back against ransomware.

4. “Launching capabilities” will involve leveraging artificial intelligence to analyze the blockchain and track cryptocurrency ransom payments.

5. Member governments will increase information-sharing capabilities through dedicated platforms.

6. The “fighting back” aspect will include a joint policy statement declaring that member governments will not pay ransoms, a blacklist of crypto-coin wallets used for ransom payments, and assistance in incident response.

7. The United States is the most targeted country, with 46 percent of global attacks hitting US organizations and individuals.

8. Banning ransom payments is one step towards curbing the extortion problem, but more needs to be done, including bringing threat actors to justice and taking aggressive actions to disrupt their activities.

9. Both the public and private sectors should notify victims when evidence of compromise is identified.

10. If a ransom-payment ban is implemented, governments and the private sector should work together to support victim organizations in recovering after a ransomware incident, particularly those that are less cyber mature.

Overall, the meeting highlighted the importance of international collaboration and proactive measures to combat the growing problem of ransomware attacks.

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