India to play key role in Joe Biden's meet on ransomware attacks; all you need to know
This year, in particular, has seen several large-scale ransomware attacks. The ransomware attacks on Colonial Pipeline, JBS meat packers, besides numerous strikes on municipal authorities, private organisations and even hospitals, have sent authorities scrambling. The wide-scale adoption and increasing value of cryptocurrencies, through which the ransom is often collected, have added fuel to fire.
Recognising the key weaknesses and susceptibility of important infrastructure to ransomware attacks, President Biden had announced the international discussion earlier in the month.
"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.
Growing ransomware attacks also pose a serious economic threat, the true extent of which is often hard to ascertain. Many companies often choose not to divulge the fact that they were compromised to avoid negative attention from the media and customers.
"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.
However, two key players and often-accused state accessories will be missing. Russia and China will not be attending the meet. It is unclear if they have not been invited or they chose not to attend. Both countries have been accused of conducting state-sponsored cyberattacks on other nations. Russia is seen to be giving implicit aid to the hackers while the Chinese Ministry of State itself is allegedly involved in the attacks.