36 countries led by the US have agreed to improve ransomware prevention measures, especially regarding the use of cryptocurrencies to fund such activities.
The summit of the International Counter Ransomware Initiative, held at the White House, was much more explicit about cryptocurrency than during its inaugural outing in 2021, as concerns continue to mount over the ease with which cybercriminals can obtain the digital tokens.
One of the main concerns identified by the Counter Ransomware Initiative (CRI) was cryptocurrency laundering. The summit outlined plans to prevent this, including sharing information about nefarious crypto wallets among agencies around the world, conducting workshops on improving blockchain tracing, and enforcing identity verification for crypto transactions.
As a result of the summit, a number of countries will jointly launch new initiatives to tackle the global problem of ransomware.
The International Counter Ransomware Task Force (ICRTF) will be at the center of the proceedings. Australia will initially lead the way, with Lithuania’s Regional Cyber Defense Center (RCDC) testing a national wing, reporting on the ransomware information it collects and sharing with other countries.
Meanwhile, the CRI will spend the next year developing a framework for identifying priority targets and alerting various law enforcement agencies, assembling a toolkit for other organizations to use in investigating ransomware attacks, and creating channels between private and public entities to share ransomware information.
Ransomware is becoming an increasingly popular tactic used by criminals to extort unwitting victims, with the frequency of attacks increasing at an alarming rate in recent years. Last year in particular saw a huge increase, with more than 600 million attacks worldwide in 2021, more than twice as many as the year before.