(Reuters) — The White House will host officials from 37 countries and 13 global companies in Washington this week to address the growing threat of ransomware and other cybercrime, including illicit use of cryptocurrencies, a senior U.S. official said.
The in-person meeting follows last year’s virtual inaugural meeting of the informal Counter-Ransomware Initiative, which added seven more countries and, for the first time, a diverse group of private sector actors.
The White House hopes the meeting will allow participating countries to “establish a set of cyber norms recognized worldwide to counter criminal ransomware threats and hold malicious actors accountable,”; the official said.
The participants plan to issue a joint statement at the end of the meeting on Tuesday, including a pledge to redouble efforts to put pressure on Russia and other countries that harbor ransomware attackers, the official said.
A key topic of discussion will be how to disrupt such attacks, counter illegal movement of cryptocurrencies and build resilience against such attacks, the official said.
“So less about Russia, more about how we as a set of countries are making it more difficult, more expensive and riskier for ransomware actors to operate,” the official said.
Ransomware attacks have increased sharply in recent years, with over 4,000 attacks reported outside the US in the past 18 months alone, the official said, adding that progress had also been made in arresting attackers.
Top administration officials, including FBI Director Christopher Wray, Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman will speak at the meeting.