Schools, hospitals, and the city of Atlanta. The police department of Washington, DC, Garmin, Acer. Currently, no one is protected from ransomware’s devastation. There is no end in sight to the escalating ransom demands and indiscriminate targeting that have taken place over the past few years. Public-private partnerships have just been created, and now the first steps toward a coordinated response are being taken by one such collaboration.
In contrast to the traditional piecemeal approach, the Institute for Security and Technology’s Ransomware Task Force has proposed a more robust public-private response. The task force, which was formed in December, includes Amazon Web Services, Cisco, Microsoft, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as well as the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the UK National Crime Agency. The report urges the public and private sectors to strengthen defences, develop response plans, strengthen and expand international law enforcement collaboration, and regulate cryptocurrencies based on the recommendations of cybersecurity firms, incident responders, nonprofits, government agencies, and academics.
It’ll be important to look at the specifics, as well as the degree of support from government agencies that have the power to affect change. The US Department of Justice has recently organised a task group to battle ransomware, and the US Department of Homeland Security declared in February that it will increase its efforts in this area. However, policy is not made by those agencies, and the United States has been unable to develop a really coordinated response to ransomware in recent years.
According to Chris Painter, president of the Global Forum on Cyber Expertise Foundation and former Justice Department and White House cybersecurity official who contributed to the report, “We need to start treating these issues as core national security and economic security issues, and not as little boutique issues”. There has always been an uphill struggle for us in the cyber arena to gain people’s attention for these very major concerns, but I’m confident that we are getting there.”
There has been a lot of attention paid to Thursday’s study on ransomware threats and how to mitigate them. The framework discusses how the US could broker diplomatic relationships to involve more countries in the response to ransomware and try to engage those that have historically acted as safe havens for ransomware groups. Law enforcement faces a variety of jurisdictional issues in tracking ransomware gangs.
It will yield rewards in combating cybercrime “far beyond ransomware,” Painter argues. “If we’re going after the nations that are not just turning a blind eye, but are actively promoting this,” Painter continues. However, he acknowledges that it will be difficult. The Russians are “always a challenge,” he admits.
Some experts are cautiously optimistic that if the proposals are implemented, public and private institutions will work more closely together in the future. When it comes to email security, senior director of threat research at Agari Crane Hassold thinks bigger teams may be beneficial. Private sector involvement in task forces is beneficial because we have a better sense of the problem’s scope because we see so much more of it daily.” The public sector, on the other hand, is better in slicing through the cyberattack chain in a more precise manner.”