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Illustration by Security Management

New Group to Combat Scourge of Ransomware

Unquestionably, COVID-19 earns distinction as the infection of the year in 2020. Second place might just belong to ransomware.

Springfield, Massachusetts Public School District; Toledo, Ohio Public Schools; bookseller Barnes and Noble; Shafter, California, government; Steelcase Furniture; European energy giant Enel Group; University of Vermont Health Network—those are just some of the 40 reported ransomware incidents reported in the month of October 2020 alone. A quick Google search on any given day will turn up more; just three examples from this morning: City of Ellensburg, Washington; SimpleAuctionSite for sports collectibles; Jefferson County, Kentucky, Property Valuation Administrator. And experts believe most ransomware attacks go unreported.

A new consortium of organizations is forming the Ransomware Task Force (RTF).

“The RTF’s founding members understand that ransomware is too large of a threat for any one entity to address, and have come together to provide clear recommendations for both public and private action that will significantly reduce the threat posed by this criminal enterprise,” the Institute for Security and Technology said in a press release on the initiative.

Among the heavy hitters in the task force are Microsoft, McAfee, thinktank Aspen Digital, and law firm Venable LLP (see below for a full list of founding members). The group will launch a website in January 2021. Projects will include finding security gaps and developing plans for closing them, expert research and papers, and a standardized framework for handling ransomware attacks.

Security Infowatch provides a basic overview of the five most prevalent types of ransomware attacks in 2020. In addition, see these Security Management articles related to ransomware:

Founding Members of the Ransomware Task Force:

  • Aspen Digital
  • Citrix
  • The Cyber Threat Alliance
  • Cybereason
  • The CyberPeace Institute
  • The Cybersecurity Coalition
  • The Global Cyber Alliance
  • McAfee
  • Microsoft
  • Rapid7
  • Resilience
  • SecurityScorecard
  • Shadowserver Foundation
  • Stratigos Security
  • Team Cymru
  • Third Way
  • UT Austin Stauss Center
  • Venable LLP