Ransomware attacks have become a major threat to the security and stability of many organizations and governments around the world. These attacks involve hackers encrypting the data or systems of their victims and demanding a ransom for their release.
Data from NCC Group revealed a total of 514 ransomware attacks in September, surpassing March 2023’s record of 459 incidents.
However, a new initiative aims to change this trend and deter cybercriminals from launching ransomware attacks.
The International Counter-Ransomware Initiative (ICRI) is a coalition of 40 countries that have pledged to take coordinated action against ransomware and its enablers.
The ICRI was launched in 2021 when 31 countries vowed to increase efforts toward disrupting ransomware groups and has since expanded to include other countries from Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
ICRI Annual Summit
The ICRI held its third annual summit in Washington, D.C., in November 2023, where the members signed a joint declaration that outlines their commitments and strategies to combat ransomware. Some of the key points of the declaration are:
- To refrain from paying ransoms to cybercriminals and to discourage others from doing so.
- To enhance information sharing and cooperation among law enforcement agencies, intelligence services, and private sector partners to identify and disrupt ransomware actors and networks.
- To strengthen cybersecurity practices and resilience among public and private entities to prevent and mitigate ransomware attacks.
- To impose sanctions and other measures on individuals, entities, and countries that facilitate or support ransomware activities.
- To raise awareness and educate the public and stakeholders about the risks and impacts of ransomware and how to protect themselves.
The ICRI members hope that by working together, they can create a united front against ransomware and reduce its profitability and attractiveness for cybercriminals. They also call on other countries to join the initiative and contribute to the global effort to fight this growing menace.
“Ransomware is an issue that knows no borders. And as long as there’s money flowing to ransomware criminals, the problem will continue to grow,” said Anne Neuberger, the White House’s Deputy National Security Adviser for Cyber and Emerging Technology, on Monday.
“We want to take a push at the cause of the ransomware, which is the financing of it, and do that together. This was a really big lift, and we’re still in the final throes of getting every last member to sign, but we’re pretty much there, which is exciting,” a senior administration official added.
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