36 US-led nations have agreed to improve ransomware prevention measures, particularly regarding the use of cryptocurrencies to fund such activities.
The International Counter Ransomware Initiative summit, held at the White House, was much more explicit about cryptocurrencies than its inaugural event in 2021, as concerns mount over how easily cybercriminals are able to get their hands on the digital tokens.
One of the main problems identified by the Counter Ransomware Initiative (CRI) was cryptocurrency laundering. The summit outlined plans to prevent this, including sharing information about nefarious crypto wallets between authorities worldwide, conducting workshops to improve blockchain tracking, and enforcing identity authentication for crypto transactions.
As a result of the summit, several nations will jointly launch new initiatives to address the global problem of ransomware.
The International Counter Ransomware Task Force (ICRTF) is at the heart of the process. Australia will initially take the lead, with Lithuania’s Regional Cyber Defense Center (RCDC) testing a national wing, reporting on the ransomware intelligence it collects and sharing it with other nations.
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In the meantime, over the next year, the CRI will be busy developing a framework to identify priority targets and alert various law enforcement agencies, putting together a toolkit for other organizations to use when investigating ransomware attacks, and channels between private and public bodies to exchange ransomware information.
Ransomware is becoming an increasingly popular tactic used by criminals to blackmail unwitting victims, with the frequency of attacks increasing at an alarming rate in recent years. Last year in particular, there was a huge increase with over 600 million attacks worldwide in 2021, more than double the number of the previous year.
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