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European Union, US Launch Initiative Against Ransomware

On June 22, the European Union (EU) issued a statement following the EU-US Ministerial Meeting on Justice and Home Affairs. The meeting covered a myriad of topics including how to regulate and defend against cybercrimes. The US and EU governments plan to coordinate on an initiative to fight ransomware attacks. They created a working group to address the recent surge of ransomware and discuss best practices and share information on how to bring the criminals to justice. The government officials also made note that countries must be held responsible that allow ransomware groups to operate within their borders with impunity.

Analyst Notes

Ransomware attacks continue to be the focus for law enforcement agencies across the world. The cooperation between countries is promising and may be the beginning of the end for threat actors. Cyber-criminals will continue to look for new avenues to attack organizations and hold their data ransom. To protect against ransomware attacks, organizations should regularly back up data, air gap, and password protect backup copies offline. Ensure copies of critical data are not accessible for modification or deletion from the system where the data resides. Implement network segmentation. Implement a recovery plan to maintain and retain multiple copies of sensitive or proprietary data and servers in a physically separate, segmented, secure location (i.e., hard drive, storage device, the cloud). Install updates/patch operating systems, software, and firmware as soon as practical after they are released. Implement monitoring of security events on employee workstations and servers, with a 24/7 Security Operations Center to detect threats and respond quickly. Use multifactor authentication where possible. Use strong passwords and regularly change passwords to network systems and accounts, implementing the shortest acceptable timeframe for password changes. Avoid reusing passwords for multiple accounts. Focus on cyber security awareness and training. Regularly provide users with training on information security principles and techniques as well as overall emerging cybersecurity risks and vulnerabilities.