- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 15, 2021

The Biden administration on Thursday unveiled new efforts to address rising cyberattacks across the country.

The White House launched a ransomware task force to help mitigate attacks, and the departments of Justice and Homeland Security created StopRansomware.gov as a web-based hub of federal ransomware resources for businesses and governments.

The State Department Rewards for Justice program also is offering up to $10 million dollars for information leading to the identification of anyone participating in malicious cyberattacks on critical infrastructure in the U.S. 

Thursday’s announcements come amid a recent string of cyberattacks that crippled large companies nationwide including the Colonial Pipeline, SolarWinds and meat processor JBS. 

“Cyber criminals have targeted critical infrastructure, small businesses, hospitals, police departments, schools and more,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said Thursday in a statement. “These attacks directly impact Americans’ daily lives and the security of our nation.”

A Biden administration official declined to comment on whether the U.S. played a role in the recent online removal of Russia-backed cybergang REvil, The Associated Press reported.

The cybercriminal group orchestrated an attack on Florida-based software company Kaseya earlier this month, which affected more than 1,000 organizations worldwide.

The Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network will collaborate with industry stakeholders on ways to combat cryptocurrency money laundering and track online ransomware payments.

Network officials are also planning to host an event in August to discuss ransomware concerns and mitigation efforts. Officials will meet with representatives from financial institutions, various federal government agencies and other industry stakeholders.

Attorney General Merrick Garland says federal agencies are “working to bring all our tools to bear against these threats,” but “we cannot do it alone.”

“It is critical for business leaders across industries to recognize the threat, prioritize efforts to harden their systems and work with law enforcement by reporting these attacks promptly,” Mr. Garland said Thursday in a statement.

• Emily Zantow can be reached at ezantow@washingtontimes.com.

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