A 40-nation alliance reportedly plans to pledge to not to pay ransoms to cybercriminals.
The U.S.-led International Counter Ransomware Initiative is making this promise amid a growing number of ransomware attacks, Reuters reported Tuesday (Oct. 31), following a White House press briefing.
Anne Neuberger, deputy national security adviser in the Biden administration for cyber and emerging technologies, told reporters that the U.S. is the largest target for such attacks, with 46% of ransomware cases targeting Americans.
“As long as there is money flowing to ransomware criminals, this is a problem that will continue to grow,” she said.
Ransomware attacks get their name from the ransom a hacker demands after encrypting a company’s systems, with victims forced to pay to have their information unlocked.
According to Reuters, the anti-ransomware coalition hopes to cut off hackers from their funding by improving information sharing about ransom payment accounts. The group is creating two platforms to share information: one by Israel and the United Arab Emirates and the other by Lithuania, Neuberger told reporters.
The coalition will share a “black list” via the U.S. Treasury with information on digital wallets being used to move ransomware payments, she added.
The group’s efforts come as ransomware attacks are reaching historic levels. Last month, Visa reported that these attacks reached record-breaking numbers in March 2023, jumping 91% from the prior month. Taken year over year, ransomware attacks increased by 62%.
And data from blockchain firm Chainalysis shows that ransomware payments reached nearly $500 million through September, a 50% increase compared to the same period last year.
However, as noted here last week, some skeptics argue that banning ransomware payments might not solve the problem. They contend that hackers will just move their focus on organizations that are still willing to pay, or find another type of scheme.
These undertakings include educating workers, filtering out malicious emails and employing new identity verification tools, Jabbara said.