India is among the four countries that have volunteered to organise and lead specific thematic discussions at the first-of-its-kind international meeting to counter ransomware convened by the Biden administration, that will chalk out a four-part strategy to address the challenges posed in the cyberworld, the White House said on Wednesday.
Joined by ministers and senior officials from over 30 countries and the European Union to accelerate cooperation to counter ransomware, the two-day meet that ends on Thursday, builds on President Joe Biden's leadership to rally allies and partners to counter the shared threat of ransomware.
"The initiative builds on President Biden’s leadership to rally allies and partners to counter the shared threat of ransomware. It builds on our own domestic efforts as well -- significant efforts, as you saw, on the recent Treasury designation and other efforts we have underway," a senior administration official told reporters.
"Ransomware payments reached over $400 million globally in 2020, and topped $81 million in the first quarter of 2021, illustrating the financially driven nature of these activities," read a statement from a White House fact sheet published for the event.
The discussions will follow four strategies that the Biden administration is employing to neutralise the ransomware threat. These include -- Disrupt Ransomware Infrastructure and Actors, Bolster Resilience to Withstand Ransomware Attacks, Address the Abuse of Virtual Currency to Launder Ransom Payments, and Leverage International Cooperation to Disrupt the Ransomware Ecosystem and Address Safe Harbors for Ransomware Criminals.
India, along with Australia, Germany and UK would each lead the discussions on particular topics. The countries volunteered to organise the specific thematic discussions at the event. India will be tackling resilience, Austria, disruption, the UK will anchor virtual currency and Germany will helm diplomacy.
Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Estonia, the EU, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Lithuania, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Poland, the Republic of Korea, Romania, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, the UAE, and the UK will also be joining the meeting.
According to the White House, the Administration is working closely with international partners to address the shared threat of ransomware and galvanise global political will to counter ransomware activities as reflected in the recent G7 and North Atlantic Treasury Organisation (NATO) joint statements, and Financial Action Task Force (FATF) efforts, among others. The Administration continues to advocate for expanded membership in, and implementation of, the Budapest Convention and its principles, it said.
Furthermore, US departments and agencies continue to engage with countries to improve their capacity for addressing ransomware threats, including through capacity building that promotes cybersecurity best practices and combats cybercrime, such as trainings on network defence and resilience, cyber hygiene, virtual currency analysis, and other training and technical assistance to foreign law enforcement partners to combat criminal misuse of information technologies.
Image courtesy: Reuters