US Military Acts Against Ransomware

As the number of victims increases, ransomware has been a growing problem in the US. For people that don’t know, ransomware is when a hacker takes control of your data and puts it up for ransom. If you fail to comply with the hacker, your data is usually deleted or sold off to others.

The US military has gone on the offensive against ransomware groups as US companies increasingly become targets of malware attacks, the nation’s top cyber defender acknowledged on Saturday.

Up until about nine months ago, reining in ransomware attacks was seen as the responsibility of law enforcement agencies, Gen. Paul M. Nakasone, the head of US Cyber Command and director of the National Security Agency, told the New York Times. But attacks like the ones on Colonial Pipeline and JBS beef plants have been “impacting our critical infrastructure,” Nakasone said, leading federal agencies to ramp up the gathering and sharing of intelligence on ransomware groups.

According to The White House, “Ransomware incidents have disrupted critical services and businesses worldwide – schools, banks, government offices, emergency services, hospitals, energy companies, transportation, and food companies have all been affected. Ransomware attackers have targeted organizations of all sizes, regardless of where they are located. The global economic losses from ransomware are significant. Ransomware payments reached over $400 million globally in 2020, and topped $81 million in the first quarter of 2021, illustrating the financially driven nature of these activities.”

Additionally, they said, “The Biden Administration has pursued a focused, integrated effort to counter the threat. Yet, government action alone is not enough. The Administration has called on the private sector, which owns and operates the majority of U.S. critical infrastructure, to modernize its cyber defenses to meet the threat of ransomware. The Administration has announced specific efforts to encourage resilience, including voluntary cyber performance goals, classified threat briefings for critical infrastructure executives, and the Industrial Control Systems Cybersecurity Initiative. And, the Administration has stepped up to lead international efforts to fight ransomware. International partnership is key since transnational criminal organizations are often the perpetrators of ransomware crimes, leveraging global infrastructure and money laundering networks to carry out their attacks.”

With the government getting involved with constant ransomware, it is still important to follow basic internet safety habits to not become a victim of these vicious attacks.


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