A significant move against hackers is underway as 40 countries, led by the U.S., prepare to sign a pledge. According to Reuters reporting, this commitment aims to halt ransom payments to cybercriminals and dismantle their funding mechanisms, according to a senior White House official.
Rising threat of ransomware attacks
Ransomware attacks have seen a global surge, with the U.S. bearing the brunt, accounting for 46% of such incidents. Anne Neuberger, the U.S. deputy national security adviser for cyber and emerging technologies, highlighted the gravity of the situation in a virtual briefing. Neuberger mentioned that the problem would continue as long as ransomware criminals are being paid.
In these attacks, cybercriminals encrypt an organization’s systems, demanding ransoms for decryption. They often pilfer sensitive data, threatening its release if not paid. Recent victims include MGM Resorts International and Clorox, both still grappling with the aftermath.
A collaborative effort to curb cybercrime
The alliance’s strategy focuses on cutting off the hackers’ financial lifeline. Enhanced information sharing about ransom payment accounts is central to this plan. Lithuania will develop one of the two proposed information-sharing platforms, with Israel and the UAE collaborating on the second.
Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Treasury will facilitate the sharing of a “black list” among partner countries. This list will spotlight digital wallets used for ransomware transactions. Neuberger also mentioned the integration of artificial intelligence to scrutinize blockchain, aiming to pinpoint illicit funds. Notably, Chainalysis, a blockchain analytics firm, reported in July that crypto payments to ransomware attackers might reach their second-highest annual total this year.