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In an alliance led by the US, forty countries pledge to never pay ransoms, leaving cybercriminals without one of their main funding mechanisms. The International Counter Ransomware Initiative comes as a response to the growing number of ransomware attacks worldwide.
According to Cybernews, the United States is the worst hit by a large margin with 46% of such attacks. US Deputy National Security Adviser in the Biden Administration for Cyber and Emerging Technologies Anne Neuberger told reporters that “As long as there is money flowing to ransomware criminals, this is a problem that will continue to grow.”
Ransomware attacks are cyberattacks in which hackers encrypt an organization’s systems and demand ransom payments in exchange for unlocking them, often also stealing sensitive data and using it to extort victims and leaking it online if the payments are not made. The volume of crypto payments to ransomware attackers is reportedly on track for its second-biggest annual total on record.
Neuberger added that this new initiative by the alliance aims to eliminate the criminals’ funding through better information sharing about ransom payment accounts. The effort will also use artificial intelligence to analyze blockchain with the aim of identifying illicit funds, according to Neuberger.
Two information-sharing platforms will reportedly be created, one by Lithuania and another jointly by Israel and the UAE. Partner countries will share a “black list” through the US Department of Treasury that will include information on digital wallets being used to move ransomware payments.