Future of Digital Security

#RansomwareTaskForce at the White House International Counter Ransomware Initiative Summit

Megan Stifel headshot

By Megan Stifel on November 5, 2022

Last week I was honored to represent the Ransomware Task Force at the second International Counter Ransomware Initiative (CRI) Summit at the White House. The Summit brought together representatives of 36 countries and the EU, civil society, and the private sector. I joined a session on public-private partnership, where participants shared our experiences in responding to ransomware, our views on where governments should focus their efforts, and areas where we can work together. 

While at the CRI, I highlighted the priority recommendations of the RTF, progress achieved since publication of the inaugural report, the Blueprint for Ransomware Defense, and the recently-released Cyber Incident Reporting Framework. I also commended the members of the Ransomware Task Force for their actions to date and their ongoing commitment to addressing ransomware.

Key Recommendations

Over the next few months, we hope that CRI members work with the private sector on the following goals:

  1. Enhancing Information Sharing and Operational Collaboration 

It is essential that governments create and enhance legal and regulatory environments that support information sharing and operational collaboration. In doing so, they should leverage and scale existing relationships and authorities and build capacity in regions less able to take meaningful action. These efforts should be harmonized across jurisdictions so that stakeholders can focus on reducing risk across the Internet ecosystem without significant delay due to inconsistent standards and approaches in different jurisdictions. 

  1. Implementing Cybersecurity Best Practices

Public and private sectors can work together on taking collective action in coordination with civil society, industry, governments, and other international partners. We must get our respective houses in order by adopting best practices suited to our organizational maturity. For Small and Medium Enterprises, the RTF’s Blueprint for Ransomware Defense offers 40 cybersecurity controls known to reduce ransomware risk. We must better share relevant information to help build a truly holistic picture of the ransomware threat, as advocated for by the Cyber Incident Reporting Framework. By improving the scale and scope of information about ransomware incidents, we will be better equipped to take regular collective action to best manage this risk. 

  1. Addressing Profitability of Ransomware through Countering Illicit Finance 

We need to increase the application of existing anti-money laundering and know your customer requirements to cryptocurrencies. By establishing consistent requirements across jurisdictions, actors will be less able to obfuscate their identities and their funds, which will drive down the incentives for them to continue to engage in this activity.

Above all, we need to cultivate trust among public and private sector entities; only with the power of our collective efforts can we effectively mitigate cyber threats. We look forward to engaging in continued dialogue on these topics in relevant international fora, including at the Paris Peace Forum later this month.