Biden executive steps up ransomware attack efforts


The Biden administration on Thursday announced new efforts to counter the escalating cyberattacks across the country.

The White House launched a ransomware task force to help mitigate attacks, and the Justice and Homeland Security departments created as a web-based federal ransomware resources center for businesses and governments.

The State Department Justice Awards program is also bidding up to $10 million for information that will identify anyone involved in malicious cyberattacks on critical infrastructure in the United States.

Thursday’s announcements come amid a recent series of cyberattacks that have crippled major companies across the country, including Colonial Pipeline, SolarWinds and meat processor JBS.

“Cybercriminals have targeted critical infrastructure, small businesses, hospitals, police departments, schools and more,” Homeland Security Minister Alejandro Majorcas said on Thursday. “These attacks directly affect the daily lives of Americans and the security of our nation.”

A Biden administration official declined to comment on whether the United States played a role in the recent removal of Russia-backed cyber gang REvil online, the Associated Press reported.

The cybercriminal group launched an attack on Florida-based software company Kaseya earlier this month that affected more than 1,000 organizations worldwide.

The Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network will collaborate with industry stakeholders on ways to combat cryptocurrency money laundering and track online ransomware payments.

Network officials also plan to host an event in August to discuss ransomware concerns and mitigation efforts. Officials will meet with representatives from financial institutions, various federal government agencies and other industry stakeholders.

Attorney General Merrick Garland said federal agencies are “trying to use all our tools to counter these threats”, but “we cannot do this alone.”

“It is critical that business leaders across industries recognize the threat, prioritize efforts to harden their systems, and work with law enforcement to report these attacks promptly,” Mr Garland said on Thursday.

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