The Global Coalition of Technology Companies and Law Enforcement calls for “aggressive” action against ransom programs.
Microsoft, Amazon, FBI և The UK National Crime Agency have joined the Ransomware Task Force (RTF), making almost 50 recommendations to governments.
Ransomware groups now regularly target schools and hospitals.
Hackers use malicious software to intercept or steal computer data.
RTF presented its report to President Biden’s administration.
It claims that “more than just money is at stake”, saying that in just a few years “the ransom program has become a serious threat to national security, a public health issue and a security issue”.
RTF co-chair Jen Ellis of Rapid 7 Cybersecurity says: “Citizens influence this every day. It has a huge impact on the economy – the ability to provide services to ordinary people.
“Not only that, but the really exciting thing is that the ransom money is financing other forms of organized crime, such as human trafficking and child exploitation.”
The UK National Cyber Security Center, which is also a member of the Ransomware Task Force, says that in 2020 there were more than three times as many ransomware incidents as there were last year.
“It felt huge”
“It was a Sunday morning in October last year when I got a call about problems with our IT systems,” said Rob Miller, director of information and communication technology at Hackney in London.
“It simply came to our notice then that this was a serious cyber attack.
“We had to shut down everything – turn off the internet for all our systems. We have services for around 300,000 people working around the clock, which was a huge concern.
“We knew we had a huge challenge ahead. The whole council had to come together through all the departments to get the basic services back up and running as quickly as possible.
“The damage caused was really significant due to the repair of the damaged apartments, the payment of benefits and the cases related to the land register.
“It will be months before we fully recover. I can not understand what the basis for criminals is.
“You sit there and watch the impact on the local communities, especially during the epidemic.
“I do not think anyone can think that it is right to do so much damage to services in such a period. It’s hard to understand. “
The secrecy and stigma attached to ransomware attacks make it extremely difficult to calculate the true cost of the attack.
The FBI says that over the past year, nearly 2,400 US companies, local governments, health care facilities and schools have been ransomed.
RTF researchers have confirmed that there were hundreds of major attacks around the world last year, including in the United Kingdom, Brazil, Germany, South Africa, India, Saudi Arabia and Australia.
Emisoft Cybersecurity estimates that the real global value of ransom programs, including business interruptions 2020 ransom payments in 2020, was a minimum of $ 42 billion (30 30 billion) and a maximum of almost $ 170 billion.
A survey conducted by Veritas Technologies found that 66% of victims admitted to paying part or all of the ransom.
RTF suggests that governments require victims to report if they pay the perpetrators.
“My company was dead”
“I did not believe when we were broken,” said Martin Kelterborn, chief executive of Offix Group in Aarburg, Switzerland, who was attacked in May 2019.
“I went into my IT department, the manager was pale, obviously shocked. He told me that everything was gone. We watched live when all of our product images for our sites were coded one after the other.
“I had 230 employees who came to me and asked me what I should do. We had tens of thousands of orders, but no computer systems to sort them.
“For a moment, my boss actually wrote a press release announcing that the company was dead and no longer working. Those were the worst three weeks of my life.
“The hackers were a Ryuk ransom gang, they demanded that we pay them 45 Bitcoin, which was about half a million dollars.
“Yes, we were thinking of paying, but in the end, they actually destroyed so much of our system that it had to be rebuilt anyway. The restoration cost us as much – half a million dollars. “
Other recommendations to RTF governments include:
designate ransomware attacks as a national security threat
Create a “Response և Recovery Fund” to help ransomware victims help them recover
increase the regulation of cryptocurrency services
put pressure on those complicit nations or refuse to take action against ransomware internal groups
For years, cybersecurity organizations have claimed that intelligence groups are openly operating in North Korea, Iran and Russia.
Earlier this month, the US government imposed sanctions on several Russian entities, saying the Kremlin was “developing and collaborating with criminal hackers, including the formerly appointed Evil Corp, to enable them to engage in a scandalous software attack.”
It was reported last week that the US Department of Justice has set up an internal team to deal with the growing threat of ransomware.