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Step Up Cybersecurity! White House Warns About Rising Ransomware Attacks

Anne Neuberger, the National Security Council's Chief Cybersecurity Adviser, has asked business leaders and corporate executives to implement robust security measures to deter rising ransomware attacks.

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Though government security policies may motivate organizations to boost their cybersecurity standards, ultimately it is a company’s proactive measures that prevent cyberattacks. Irrespective of size, it is about time that organizations take cyberattacks seriously and enhance their security defenses.

Recently, the White House asked corporate executives and business leaders to step up their security measures amid rising ransomware attacks in the country. In an open letter,  Anne Neuberger, the National Security Council’s Chief Cybersecurity Advisor, said that strengthening the nation’s resilience from cyberattacks is a priority for the government as ransomware incidents have increased significantly in recent times.

“The threats are serious, and they are increasing. We urge you to take these critical steps to protect your organizations and the American public. The U.S. Government is working with countries around the world to hold ransomware actors and the countries who harbor them accountable, but we cannot fight the threat posed by ransomware alone. The private sector has a distinct and key responsibility. The federal government stands ready to help you implement these best practices,” Neuberger said.

Neuberger stressed that the Federal government is working with global industry leaders to deter ransomware operators and disrupt their networks. It is also working with international partners to hold countries that harbor ransomware actors accountable, developing cohesive and consistent policies towards ransom payments, and enabling rapid tracing and interdiction of virtual currency proceeds.

“All organizations must recognize that no company is safe from being targeted by ransomware, regardless of size or location. But there are immediate steps you can take to protect yourself, as well as your customers and the broader economy. To understand your risk, business executives should immediately convene their leadership teams to discuss the ransomware threat and review corporate security posture and business continuity plans to ensure you can continue or quickly restore operations,” Neuberger added.

Best Security Practices

The U.S. government also recommended certain best security practices to help organizations focus and make rapid progress on mitigating cyber risks. These include:

  • Implement the five best practices from the President Biden’s Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity Executive Order, which include: Implementing multifactor authentication, endpoint detection, incident response, encryption, and an empowered security team.
  • Backup your data, system images, and configurations, regularly test them, and keep the backups offline
  • Update and patch systems promptly
  • Test your incident response plan
  • Check Your Security Team’s Work
  • Segment your networks

The directive from the White House comes after ransomware operators recently disrupted operations of the world’s largest meat processing giant JBS and the biggest U.S. fuel supplier Colonial Pipeline.