Participants from 36 nations joined members of the private sector and the European Union at a recent White House International Counter Ransomware Initiative (CRI) Summit that pinpointed actionable plans to disrupt ransomware attacks across the globe. Among the highlights, the summit underscored the importance of creating landmark cybersecurity standards across infrastructure sectors, as cybercrime remains a prevalent threat to citizens and businesses.
The October 31-November 1 gathering highlighted how the Biden Administration CRI is taking concrete actions to disrupt cyber criminals, counter illicit finance, foster private sector partnerships, and build global alliances to counter the spread of cyber-attacks.
To advance efforts in cybersecurity over the next year, the administration will work on multiple priorities, including the development of a capacity building tool to help countries utilize public-private partnerships to combat ransomware. Among other actionable goals, the CRI plans to distribute an investigator’s toolkit, including lessons learned and strategies for responding to significant ransomware events and proactively tackling major cybercriminal actors.
Collaborative international efforts include five working groups at the helm of the CRI covering different areas of cyber security: resilience, co-led by Lithuania and India; disruption, led by Australia; counter illicit finance, led by the UK and Singapore; public-private partnership, led by Spain; and diplomacy, led by Germany. Plans are also underway to establish an International Counter Ransomware Task Force (ICRTF), with Australia as the ICRTF’s inaugural chair and coordinator, to coordinate resilience, disruption, and counter illicit finance activities.
The CTI will coordinate on the creation of a fusion cell at the Regional Cyber Defense Centre in Kaunas, led by Lithuania, to test a scaled version of the ICRTF and operationalize ransomware related threat information sharing commitments.
Summit Recognizes How Commitment to Standards Advance Cybersecurity
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan provided insights at the summit, reflecting on the administration’s goals in working to advance efforts in standardization to combat cyber threats.
“Last year, President Biden signed an Executive Order (14028) that requires new baseline standards for software sold to the U.S. government. A lot of it that is also used and bought by countries around the world. It’s an effort that we hope will raise the game for software not just for our country, but for all of your countries as well,” he told participants.
He noted the creation of cybersecurity standards in critical infrastructure sectors, including airports, water systems, pipelines, and railroads. With advancements in these standardization developments, he acknowledged that a commitment to getting standards written and implemented requires “a genuine level of public-private partnership that is almost unique across the national security enterprise to protect our countries from all manner of cyber-attacks, including ransomware attacks.”
In his closing remarks, he emphasized: “...Our work is by no means done, but we are going to go sector by sector to ensure that we have standard cybersecurity practices for the critical infrastructure owners in every domain of critical infrastructure.”
Read how standards organizations support cybersecurity: See Yourself in Cyber: ANSI Recognizes Cybersecurity Awareness Month.