Cybersecurity: India takes ‘lead’ on Joe Biden’s initiative against ransomware

Cybersecurity: India takes ‘lead’ on Joe Biden’s initiative against ransomware



India, the UK, Germany and Australia have taken a “lead” role in helping the United States organise a global meeting on countering ransomware; which is a key cybersecurity initiative of US President Joe Biden.


The two-day meet, which is taking place virtually, started on Wednesday.


India is leading a session on resilience, Australia on disruption; the UK on virtual currency, as well as Germany on diplomacy.


Lt General Rajesh Pant, the national cybersecurity coordinator; is leading the Indian delegation at the event aimed at combating ransomware.


“Many governments have been indispensable in organising the meeting, and four countries in particular have volunteered; to lead and organise specific thematic discussions: India for resilience, Australia for disruption, the UK for virtual currency, and Germany for diplomacy;” a senior official of Joe Biden’s administration said while reviewing the meeting for reporters.


In all, 30 countries are participating in the meet; including Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Estonia, France, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Lithuania, Mexico; the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Poland, South Korea, Romania, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine as well as the UAE.


The EU is also taking part in the event.

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The meet on tackling ransomware is a part of the Joe Biden administration’s four-part strategy to counter the scourge of ransomware.


Colonial Pipeline, a major US oil distribution company, reportedly paid $4.4 million to a cybercriminal group DarkSide earlier in the year; to get back control of its pipelines. And Toshiba; the Japanese electronics giant, had said the same group had hit the networks of its European division in France at the same time.


The FBI, however, recovered $2.3 million of the ransomware that was paid by Colonial in Bitcoins.


Ransomware attacks are a global menace. Ransomware payments reached over $400 million globally in 2020; the White House said in fact-sheet and topped $81 million in the first quarter of 2021, “illustrating the financially driven nature of these activities”.


Disrupting ransomware infrastructure and actors as in the Colonial Pipeline case; will the first of the four-part strategy to be announced by the Biden administration.


“We’re bringing the full weight of U.S. government capabilities to disrupt ransomware actors, networks, financial infrastructure, and other facilitators;” the official said and went on to cite the Colonial case as an example.


The second part of the strategy is to be bolster “resilience to withstand ransomware attacks”; addressing and fixing vulnerabilities in networks.


The third is to prevent the “abuse of virtual currency” to launder ransom payments; and the fourth is to marshal international allies and partners.

About The Author

Osigweh Lilian Oluchi is a graduate of the University of Lagos where she obtained a B.A (Hons) in English, Masters in Public and International affairs (MPIA). Currently works with 1stnews as a Database Manager / Writer. [email protected]

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