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First on CNN: Biden administration to convene 30 countries to crack down on ransomware threat

By Sean Lyngaas

The White House will convene a 30-country meeting this month to try to ramp up global efforts to address the threat of ransomware to economic and national security, President Joe Biden said in a statement shared exclusively with CNN.

“Cyber threats affect the lives and livelihoods of American families and businesses,” national security adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement to CNN. Sullivan said the administration would “continue to build on our whole-of-government effort to deter and disrupt cyberattacks.”

The goal of the alliance will be “to accelerate our cooperation in combatting cybercrime, improving law enforcement collaboration, stemming the illicit use of cryptocurrency, and engaging on these issues diplomatically,” Biden is set to announce Friday, according to the statement.

The announcement follows a series of ransomware attacks on US critical infrastructure firms in recent months, including one that forced major US fuel supplier Colonial Pipeline to shut down for days.

Skeptical about Moscow

The first meeting of the multilateral initiative will be held virtually. It’s part of a recurring effort to cut off revenue for ransomware groups and figure out ways to prosecute them, according to the White House.

In bolstering US cybersecurity, “the Federal government needs the partnership of every American and every American company in these efforts,” Biden added.

Biden in June urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to crack down on cybercriminals operating from Russian soil, but US officials have been skeptical of Moscow’s willingness to do so.

After a brief period of quiet from some ransomware groups following the Biden-Putin meeting, hackers have claimed multiple US companies as victims in recent weeks.

New Cooperative, a grain cooperative with 60 locations in Iowa, had to take its computers offline last month after Russian-speaking hackers encrypted them. The cooperative said it successfully contained the intrusion.

US officials have looked for ways to slow down the cybercriminals that do not rely on Russian government cooperation. The Treasury Department last month imposed sanctions on a cryptocurrency exchange that US officials accused of doing business with hackers behind eight types of ransomware.

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Article Topic Follows: CNN - US Politics

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