The Institute for Security and Technology (IST) announced this week the creation of a Ransomware Task Force (RTF) to address what it called an “increasingly prevalent and destructive type of cybercrime.” The RTF brings together experts in industry, government, law enforcement, the nonprofit sector, and international organizations, among others, to address a problem it says is far too complex for any single entity to address.
The aim of the task force is to bring together a broad coalition of affected stakeholders to create a clear framework for actionable solutions to ransomware. RTF members will assess current responses, identify gaps, and create “a roadmap of concrete actionable milestones for high-level decision-makers.”
This will include the commissioning of expert papers and the promotion of “vetted solutions.” IST said the task force would be launching for “a two-to-three month sprint” and that a website listing full membership details and leadership roles would likely be available in January 2021.”
Key Task Force Members
Microsoft and McAfee headline a list of 19 task force members that also includes software developer Citrix, think tanks Aspen Digital and Global Cyber Alliance, and the Strauss Center for International Security and Law at the University of Texas.
In a blog post earlier this month, Microsoft President Brad Smith addressed the need for a more comprehensive and collaborative approach to cybersecurity. He included three principle threats: attacks by nation-states, the privatization of cybersecurity attacks by private sector offensive actors (PSOAs), and the intersection of cyberattacks and the COVID-19 global pandemic.
The convergence of these three issues, along with other existing threats, required “a more effective national and global strategy to protect against cyberattacks,” Smith wrote. His message anticipated the focus of IST’s task force.
‘Dangerous, Physical Consequences’ of Ransomware
The scope of the ransomware problem escalates from year to year as new threats emerge and cyber criminals develop new tools to facilitate attacks. IST specifically identified recent attacks on hospitals, school districts, and city governments as examples of how ransomware attacks can endanger much more than an organization’s financial bottom line.
Universal Health Services, one of the largest healthcare providers in the U.S., suffered a ransomware attack in September sent computer networks offline and forced the rerouting of patients in some UHS facilities. The Baltimore County Public Schools system suffered a crippling ransomware attack that forced schools to close for a few days and required some school-issued computers to be returned.
Mounting an Effective Defense against Ransomware
As the scope and sophistication of recent ransomware attacks clearly illustrate, just about everyone is vulnerable to attack. Organizations spend billions of dollars each year on cybersecurity. Malicious actors still regularly penetrate computer networks around the world.
For more than a decade, SecureData has developed products and services that give everyone from consumers to IT professionals the necessary tools to defend against attacks from ransomware and other malware. SecureData’s total security solution includes offline encrypted storage, remote drive management and solid endpoint security.
Our SecureDrive® hardware-encrypted storage devices have the industry’s highest-available FIPS validation, are OS/host independent, and work on any device with a USB port. SecureDrive® BT devices feature dual factor authentication via wireless mobile app and encrypted Bluetooth connection. Our Remote Management (RM) License can be added to any BT drive at any time for fully remote administrative control, including remote wipe and forced password reset, geo- and time-fencing, and user logging for an unlimited number of drives.
Ransomware is a very real threat for organizations big and small. The best way to defend against them is to have a clear and tested plan and the right data protection tools. Call us at 1-800-875-3230 to learn more about SecureData’s comprehensive data security solutions.