Fuel shortages and a meat scare were all it took, but the United States emerged stronger than ever. There will be a lot more attention paid to ransomware by the Justice Department. However, it should be taken more seriously.
As reported by Reuters, the DOJ is “raising the priority of investigating ransomware attacks to one similar to terrorism.” As a result, a Washington, D.C.-based task force will coordinate responses to ransomware.
A ransomware attack encrypts a target’s files, then offers to provide a decryption key in exchange for a fee, typically paid in cryptocurrency.
Experts in the cybersecurity field were pleased with Thursday’s news. He described DOJ’s initiative as a step in the right direction as the former chief of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (infamously fired by a tweet).
It’s good to see we’re taking ransomware very seriously, he wrote Thursday. The fact that there has been a shift in direction is positive even though there is more to be done.
A former Biden campaign cybersecurity staffer, Jackie Singh, explained how the DOJ’s move will work in practice.
The centralization of the data and clarification of the reporting structure makes it easier to share information among disparate agencies, due mainly to the disruption at Colonial Pipeline, but also to the hundreds of ransomware incidents that have gripped the country, she explained over direct message.
Singh believes that this could actually have an impact on the proliferation of ransomware.
As a result of this system, the State Department and the White House may be able to develop geopolitical responses to foreign criminal cyber intrusions that are more effective.”
We can only hope that will be the case, as ransomware ravages businesses around the world.