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US will give ransomware hacks similar priority to terrorist attacks

Kingston
(Image credit: Kingston)

The US government has urged businesses to get serious about ransomware attacks, even as its Department of Justice (DoJ) is elevating its investigations into recent incidents to a similar priority as terrorism. 

The steps come in the wake of an increase in the number of cyberattacks against critical infrastructure, such as the recent ransomware campaign against Colonial Pipeline, which disrupted the supply of fuel in the US.

Security experts have expressed concern over the ageing critical infrastructure, but sadly don’t see a drop in the attacks against these lucrative targets, unless the government takes some decisive steps.

The DoJ’s decision to treat ransomware attacks with the same priority as an act of terrorism is a clear reflection of the government’s intent, Reuters quoted unnamed US officials as claiming.

It further notes that internal guidance recently sent to US attorney's offices across the country said information about ransomware investigations in the field should be centrally coordinated with the recently created task force in Washington.

Urging business

At the same time, the US National Security Council's chief cybersecurity adviser, Anne Neuberger has written an open letter asking business leaders to treat ransomware attacks as “a threat to their core business operations rather than a simple risk of data theft.”

Citing the recent increase in the number of ransomware attacks not just on US-based companies, but across the world, Neuberger asks the leaders to take stock of their company’s cyber defense strategies and ensure it’s robust enough to handle these new threats.

"To understand your risk, business executives should immediately convene their leadership teams to discuss the ransomware threat and review corporate security posture and business continuity plans to ensure you have the ability to continue or quickly restore operations," wrote Neuberger, while listing a few best practices to help IT teams shore up their defenses.

Via BleepingComputer