US, allies pledge ‘disruptive action’ against ransomware gangs – POLITICO

The US and international allies plan to take “disruptive action” against ransomware criminals by cracking down on their infrastructure and stopping money laundering via cryptocurrencies.

The countries will also agree to urge Russia to stop harboring criminal hacking groups.

“We will consider all available national tools to take action against those responsible for ransomware operations that threaten critical infrastructure and public security,” governments of more than 30 countries are expected to say after a meeting hosted by the US to end Thursday, according to a draft statement seen by POLITICS.

Western countries have faced several high-profile ransomware attacks in recent months, including: about US gas pipeline operator Colonial, American meat processor JBS and hospitals in Ireland, France and elsewhere, disrupting critical services. Ransomware is malicious software that locks users out of their computer systems and demands ransom in exchange for returning control – a type of attack that has become the biggest cyber threat in developed countries this year.

Among the governments attending US President Joe Biden’s summit to fight ransomware are India, Australia, the UK, Germany, France and more than two dozen other countries, as well as the European Union.

The US has not invited Russia, where many of the most aggressive ransomware gangs are known to be based, but is having “active discussions” with Moscow in a special working group, POLITICO previously reported.

In last month’s draft statement, governments called for “urgent action, common priorities and additional efforts to reduce the risk of ransomware”.

As the conference is underway, officials may still make changes to the design.

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