Ransomware: A Global Perspective

Security firms and others are stating that organized cybercriminal groups and nation state actors may be behind the wave of ransomware attacks that have happened as of late. Some security firms have given their thoughts recently about who may be behind these attacks (please note, however, that ransomware (just like other malware) may originate from any number of countries—it is not just one country which is behind these attacks). Meanwhile, healthcare organizations (and others) are ramping up their cybersecurity defenses. Cybersecurity personnel, their managers, the C-Suite, and Boards of Directors are all highly concerned about ransomware (and what to do if they are hit with it).

Some reports indicate that they are over 300 million malware strains—this includes ransomware (which is a type of malware). While the private sector can, at times, prevail over ransomware—especially with good cybersecurity defense, this is only part of the equation. That is, we need to look to the source. Exactly who (e.g., which nation state group, non-state group, organized cybercriminal group, or other actor (such as a malicious insider)) is behind all of this? According to reports, there are about 100 malware kingpins around the world. Cybercriminals, just like other criminals, need to be brought to justice (just like other criminals) for the sake of our society, economy, safety, and health. Moreover, cybercrime is a global problem (just as ransomware is a global problem). 

The private sector, security researchers, law enforcement, militaries, and governments must work together to help solve the global problem of cybercrime and ransomware. Public-private partnerships and other alliances (such as cyber diplomacy), built upon trust and vetted participants, are quintessential. Through these means, we can conduct meaningful exchanges, such as cyber threat information sharing, investigating actual incidents, and, together, stay ahead of these threats.

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