An international alliance of 40 countries is set to commit to a pledge to cease paying ransoms to cybercriminal groups during the third annual International Counter-Ransomware Initiative summit in Washington, D.C. This global effort, endorsed by countries including the United States, aims to address the growing threat of ransomware attacks that have targeted nations across the world.
Furthermore, the initiative, spearheaded by Anne Neuberger, the White House’s Deputy National Security Adviser for Cyber and Emerging Technology, acknowledges that ransomware is a borderless issue requiring collective action to disrupt its financing. The summit will also focus on strategies to obstruct the funding channels of ransomware groups.
Ransomware attacks reached record levels, with the United States experiencing approximately 46% of these incidents. Ransomware threats surged in September, recording 514 attacks, surpassing the previous record in March 2023.
North America encountered the majority of these attacks at 50%, followed by Europe at 30%, and Asia at 9%. Governments have been severely impacted over the past two years as ransomware attacks targeted critical infrastructure and government entities. The first Counter-Ransomware Initiative summit took place in October 2021, with 31 countries committing to disrupting ransomware groups’ use of cryptocurrency after ransom payments reached nearly $500 million in two years.
While 48 countries, along with the European Union and Interpol, will participate in the summit, not all have confirmed their commitment to the anti-ransomware statement. The need for collective action to combat ransomware, as emphasized by Neuberger, underscores the cross-border nature of this issue, with the financing of such attacks at its core. This international effort seeks to curtail ransomware incidents and protect nations’ critical systems and infrastructure from these persistent threats.