Cybersecurity, Tech Groups Team Up to Combat Ransomware Attacks

Cybersecurity and tech groups have banded together in a California-based non-profit to devise ways to combat the increase in ransomware attacks, The Hill reported Sunday.

Institute for Security and Technology’s Ransomware Task Force executive chairman Philip Reiner said ransomware is “not just an increasing security threat, it is to the level of now where it’s putting hospitals, children, the elderly, financial institutions, everyone at risk.”

He said, due to this situation, “we were seized with the idea that creating a collaborative cross-sectoral grouping that is looking at it from a comprehensive, top-down policy approach could potentially have more effect.”

Reiner added, the collaborative effort seeks to come up with recommendations to help both governments and the private sector combat ransomware attacks, which have plagued city governments, schools, and hospitals this past year, including exploiting the healthcare system as it struggles to control coronavirus cases.

These attacks involve accessing and encrypting the victim’s network and demanding payment to allow access.

The coalition’s task force consists of major players in the cybersecurity and tech sector.

Michael Daniel, president and CEO of the Cyber Threat Alliance, one of the groups in the coalition, said, “We need a more comprehensive strategy for dealing with the ransomware threat.”

Daniel previously served as special assistant to former President Barack Obama and cybersecurity coordinator on the National Security Council.

The task force hopes to publish its recommendations in two to three months.

As part of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan he announced last week, President-elect Joe Biden included more than $10 billion in cybersecurity and IT funds, calling it “an urgent national security issue that cannot wait.”

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