April 29, 2021 San Francisco & Washington DC — Today, the Institute for Security and Technology (IST) is publishing the Ransomware Task Force’s (RTF) comprehensive framework for action, the result of a coalition of 60+ experts from software companies, government agencies, cybersecurity vendors, financial services companies, civil society, and academic institutions. Combating Ransomware – A Comprehensive Framework for Action provides 48 practical recommendations to curb the rampant spread of this increasingly destructive type of cybercrime. Our comprehensive recommendations assign a role to everyone, from U.S. and international leaders to industry, lawmakers, and civil society.
“The imperative could not be more clear; it’s time to increase prioritization of action and limit the damage inflicted by these attacks,” said Philip Reiner, Executive Director of the RTF and IST CEO. “In the past 12 months alone, we’ve seen ransomware attacks delay lifesaving medical treatment, destabilize critical infrastructure, and put our national security at risk. We felt an urgent need to bring together world-class experts across sectors to create a framework that government and industry can pursue to disrupt the ransomware business model and mitigate the impact of attacks.”
Ransomware is an international cybercrime that is multiplying in frequency and severity. These attacks are executed by criminals around the world who are willing to target schools, hospitals, businesses, and governments alike. This is not a problem that can be solved by any one entity alone, and it is not a threat that can wait for piecemeal solutions. Public and private leaders and organizations must act now, and in unison, to curb this dangerous criminal enterprise.
A crime that threatens so many sectors required a diverse body of experts to develop unique solutions. The RTF was proactively convened with representatives across disparate sectors, large and small, public and private. This breadth of expertise led to deeply informed solutions that, taken together, form a comprehensive strategy to quell the ransomware crisis.
The recommended framework consists of four priority goals; to deter ransomware attacks through a nationally and internationally coordinated, comprehensive strategy; to disrupt the ransomware business model and decrease criminal profits; to help organizations better prepare for ransomware attacks; and to respond to ransomware attacks more effectively. The 48 recommended actions provide guidance for dealing with the complexities of the ransomware epidemic, from the role of cyber insurance, to cryptocurrency, to safe havens for threat actors.
These actions must be carried out in full, and as a collaborative, cohesive strategy, as each element on its own is insufficient to address this growing problem. The RTF’s recommended framework is not for siloed action; it will take the coordinated effort of many stakeholders to accomplish these four critical goals, which each fill a gap in the current approach to ransomware mitigation.
We at IST are honored to have the opportunity to convene and work with this groundbreaking coalition. We thank the RTF members who volunteered their immense time and care for this effort, and whose lively discussions led to these actionable recommendations. The Ransomware Task Force represents the many people who dedicate themselves each day towards making the ransomware problem less of a threat. We remain indebted and grateful to all you do.
The time for concerted, coordinated action is now. We urge every stakeholder to read this report, and to join IST and the entire RTF coalition in ransomware mitigation efforts, now and until the threat of ransomware no longer looms over the heads of citizens, teachers, businesses, hospitals, and nations.
To read the RTF report
To learn more about the Ransomware Task Force, visit
For all media inquiries and further information on the IST or RTF, contact [email protected]
About The Institute for Security and Technology
The Institute for Security and Technology designs and advances solutions to the world’s toughest emerging security threats. We are a nonpartisan, nonprofit network based in the San Francisco Bay Area dedicated to advancing solutions to critical national security challenges. For more information, visit securityandtechnology.org.