(Reuters) – The United States' top national security adviser will gather officials from 30 countries this month with plans to combat the growing threat of ransomware and other cybercrime, President Joe Biden said on Friday. The House National Security Council will also aim to "improve law enforcement cooperation" on issues such as "illegal use of cryptocurrency," Biden said in a statement.
The Biden administration has raised the response to cyber security to the highest levels of administration after a series of attacks this year that threatened to destabilize the United States' energy and food supplies.
Meat producer JBS SA paid $ 11 million to end an attack on its system that stopped production and is believed to have originated in a criminal group with Russian links.
The Colonial Pipeline paid a hacker gang believed to be based in Eastern Europe nearly $ 5 million to regain access, some of which were later clawed back by US law enforcement.
Both companies paid redemption in bitcoin.
Ransom software works by encrypting victims' data. Typically, hackers will offer the victim a key in exchange for cryptocurrency payments that can run into the hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars.
The Biden administration hopes that their new informal group, which they call the Counter-Ransomware Initiative, will strengthen their diplomatic efforts, which have included direct talks with Russia as well as the NATO alliance and the group of seven rich nations.
The administration has increasingly focused on blocking what it calls China's "harmful cyber-activity," charges that Beijing has denied.
It was not immediately clear which countries would participate or when exactly the meeting would take place.
An White House official said they were particularly eager to address "virtual currency abuse to launder ransom payments" and thought of "investigating and prosecuting ransomware criminals", many of whom are anonymous and attack institutions in other countries . Catalog