On November 14, the U.S. Treasury Department announced a partnership with Israel in an effort to strengthen cybersecurity protocols in the fight against ransomware.
This joint effort will see the creation of a task force meant to defend from cybercriminals and attacks from foreign nations.
Ransomware attacks have been increasing as technologies and malware that allow cybercriminals to perpetrate these crimes advance. As attacks have become more frequent on both government bodies, as well as key industries throughout the United States, it has become of the utmost importance to fight back.
In short, ransomware allows for cybercriminals to infiltrate a network and lock information as well as assets from the network’s owners. This is typically followed by a request for ransom payments in exchange for whatever has been stolen. Often, ransomware criminals will threaten to destroy or release whatever private information has been barred from the owner.
According to the U.S. Treasury Department ransomware attack payments exceeded $400 million in 2020 alone. This was a drastic increase from the previous year. At this exponential rate, ransomware and other cyber-attacks in the future will account for more losses for key industries, as well as for the government. Every sector from financial services to energy has been touched in some form by the threat of ransomware, and in order to defend these industries, the hope is that a joint task force with like-minded nations will allow for stronger national risk posture.
The White House hosted a virtual meeting in October 2021, including the European Union among a retinue of dozens of nations. The groups discussed international cyberthreats such as ransomware, which led to the recently announced partnership with Israel. It is the Treasury Department’s hope that this task force will represent a great leap in the fight against ransomware by fostering international cooperation.