India, Mexico, Nigeria, Singapore, South Africa and 25 other nations form a taskforce with United States to stop Ransomware payment

In an unprecedented event, officials and legislators from 25 countries, including the United States, Mexico, Canada, India, the European Union, Singapore, South Africa and Japan, met virtually for the creation of the Counter Ransomware Initiative, recognizing this cybercriminal practice as one of the most important threats globally, capable of generating millionaire economic losses and irreversible damage to critical infrastructure.

Participants at the meeting, held Oct. 13-14, agreed, defining ransomware as a significant threat to all kinds of activities, from local businesses and academic institutions to hospital services and power grids. For the members of this new effort, it is important to improve the capacities of each country for the detection, containment and response to these infections, which they hope to achieve through collaboration between the public and private sectors, with the participation of specialists in the field and civil society.

Among the agreements reached during this summit are the improvement of the resilience of networks and a new approach to prevent the abuse of financial mechanisms for the laundering of money obtained from this criminal activity. Some members of the cybersecurity community also contributed their observations on these agreements, which are listed below.

Network resilience: This is an objective that goes beyond the technical capacities of each country, since it also involves the implementation of effective policies, the delegation of responsibilities, establishment of a consistent legal framework, and advice to countries with less capacity to respond to security incidents and the training of a specialized body.

Although not an easy goal to achieve, cybersecurity experts say that a computer infrastructure that meets these standards is significantly less prone to ransomware attacks.

Financial intelligence: It is necessary to remember that the main goal of ransomware groups is to obtain profits, which must be subjected to various methods of money laundering. The member countries of this new group agreed to focus on tracking and intercepting the flow of money from these attacks, reducing the economic incentive for cybercriminals.

For experts, the implementation of measures to bring down the current revenue model used by these hackers requires highly coordinated activity, involving the monitoring of all virtual asset transfer systems, platforms highly used by cybercriminals to eliminate the trace of the money obtained.

The Counter Ransomware Initiative is one of the most prominent diplomatic efforts to combat a cybercriminal practice, so the cybersecurity community expects the authorities of member countries to consolidate their objectives to disrupt these attacks.

To learn more about information security risks, malware variants, vulnerabilities and information technologies, feel free to access the International Institute of Cyber Security (IICS) websites.