A spokesperson for the US Army Cyber Command (ARCYBER) stated that they have taken offensive actions against cyber threat actors following the Colonial Pipeline attack earlier this year. The spokesperson declined to specify what actions had been taken. The Commander of ARCYBER, Gen. Paul Nakasone also recently stated that the US military is willing to carry out attacks against criminal organizations if they pose a threat to critical infrastructure. The US government continues to attempt to disrupt ransomware threat actors by launching counteroffensive efforts against criminal cryptocurrency exchanges and extortionists supporting the ransomware groups. President Biden is scheduled to hold a video call with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss cyber threats. This will be a follow-up meeting to an in person meeting they had six months ago in Geneva, when President Biden urged Putin to stop turning a blind eye to cyber criminals operating in Russia.
The US government continues to make disrupting ransomware a top priority. This falls in line with the current administration’s whole of government approach to protecting critical infrastructure from cyber threats. Organizations should initiate proactive measures to ensure they are protected from ransomware. The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) website, stopransomware.gov, has links to resources that help organizations protect their systems from intrusions that lead to ransomware. 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.