Today: 21-04-2024

Global Pact Against Cyber Extortion: 40 Nations Unite to Deny Ransom Payments, Declares United States

"Global Resolve: 40-Nation Coalition Led by U.S. Pledges to Abandon Ransom Payments in Cyber Warfare

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct 31 (Reuters) — In a decisive move, a coalition of forty nations, spearheaded by the United States, is set to commit to a groundbreaking pledge, vowing never to pay ransom to cybercriminals. The International Counter Ransomware Initiative, unveiled on Tuesday, aims to dismantle the financial lifeline of hackers amid a surge in ransomware attacks worldwide.

Anne Neuberger, U.S. Deputy National Security Adviser in the Biden administration for cyber and emerging technologies, disclosed that the United States bears the brunt of such attacks, accounting for 46% of the global total. Addressing reporters in a virtual briefing, Neuberger stressed, "As long as there is money flowing to ransomware criminals, this is a problem that will continue to grow."

Ransomware attacks typically involve hackers encrypting an organization's systems and demanding ransom payments for decryption. In many cases, sensitive data is also pilfered, creating additional leverage for extortion or public exposure if payments are not made. Recent high-profile incidents in the U.S. include attacks on MGM Resorts International and Clorox, both still grappling with the aftermath.

The alliance's new initiatives center on eradicating the financial avenues of these criminals through enhanced information sharing. Two information-sharing platforms will be established, with Lithuania hosting one and Israel collaborating with the UAE on the other. Partner countries will utilize a "black list" shared through the U.S. Department of Treasury, containing details of digital wallets associated with ransomware payments.

Neuberger emphasized the deployment of artificial intelligence to analyze blockchain data, aiming to identify and trace illicit funds. The initiative responds to the alarming increase in cryptocurrency payments to ransomware attackers, with blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis reporting a potential second-highest annual total on record.

As this united front against cyber extortion takes shape, the alliance seeks to fortify global defenses by disrupting the financial incentives fueling ransomware attacks, signaling a concerted effort to safeguard digital landscapes worldwide."

Reporting by Zeba Siddiqui in San Francisco; Editing by Cynthia Osterman"

"In conclusion, the International Counter Ransomware Initiative, forged by a coalition of forty nations under U.S. leadership, represents a significant step towards combating the escalating threat of cyber extortion. The commitment to abstain from ransom payments, coupled with proactive measures such as enhanced information sharing and advanced technology deployment, underscores a united global front against ransomware attacks. The stark acknowledgment of the United States as the primary target, coupled with recent high-profile incidents, underscores the urgency of collective action. As the alliance strives to dismantle the financial infrastructure of cybercriminals, the use of artificial intelligence and blockchain analysis signals a commitment to cutting-edge strategies. This initiative not only seeks to protect individual nations but also fosters a collaborative approach to fortifying the world's digital defenses against an evolving and pervasive threat."