30 Countries including the US and European Union pledge to Fight Ransomware Attacks
30 Countries including the US and European Union pledge to fight ransomware attacks at the Counter Ransomware Initiative Meeting October 2021. It called for “escalating global security threat with serious economic and security consequences.”
According to the statement released last week, “From malign operations against local health providers that endanger patient care, to those directed at businesses that limit their ability to provide fuel, groceries, or other goods to the public, ransomware poses a significant risk to critical infrastructure, essential services, public safety, consumer protection and privacy, and economic prosperity.”
With this, the coalition plans to enhance network resilience by adopting cyber hygiene good practices, such as using strong passwords, securing accounts with multi-factor authentication, maintaining periodic offline data backups, and keeping software up-to-date. It also plans to offer training to prevent clicking suspicious links or opening untrusted documents.
Under the initiative, they will not only be promoting incident information sharing between ransomware victims and relevant law enforcement and cyber emergency response teams (CERTs) but aims to improve mechanisms put in place to effectively respond to such attacks. Thus being able to counter the abuse of financial infrastructure to launder ransom payments.
While China and Russia remained absent, the join bulletin was issued by Ministers and Representatives of Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, the Dominican Republic, Estonia, European Union, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Lithuania, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Poland, Republic of Korea, Romania, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, the U.A.E, the U.K., and the U.S.
With the increase in ransomware attacks globally in the last two years, and the necessity to bring anti-money laundering regulations and the networks that facilitate these payments accountably, the international counter ransomware collaboration comes into existence.
Earlier the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Russian Cryptocurrency exchange Suex in September, for helping threat actors launder transactions from nearly 8 ransomware variants. This was the first instance such a sanction was implemented against a virtual currency exchange.
According to the US Government, “Treasury will continue to disrupt and hold accountable these ransomware actors and their money-laundering networks to reduce the incentive for cybercriminals to continue to conduct these attacks.”
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency(OCC) report said, “Financial institutions play an important role in protecting the U.S. financial system from ransomware-related threats through compliance with BSA obligations. Financial institutions should determine if a SAR filing is required or appropriate when dealing with a ransomware incident, including ransomware-related payments made by financial institutions that are victims of ransomware.”