FBI and DOJ Update: Ransomware Attacks Will Now Be Treated With Same Priority as Terrorism

With the latest ransomware attacks becoming more public-facing and impactful, the FBI and Justice Department are finally updating their priorities. Ransomware cyberattacks will now be treated with a similar level of priority as terrorist attacks for the first time in a significant step by the FBI and DOJ.

Why the rise in ransomware attacks?

FBI Director, Christopher Wray, singled out the Russian government for holding many different types of ransomware that are the culprit of recent attacks. Admittedly, however, the FBI has not successfully worked with private-sector cybersecurity officials in gaining encryption keys without first paying a ransom. 

The FBI Director commented on the cause of attacks in the wake of major recent events, such as the attack on the Colonial Pipeline and the global meat processor JBS.

What does my organization need to do? 

Officials from the Deputy National Security for Cyber and Emerging Technology recommend that organizations prepare for potential attacks and immediately implement additional security measures to prevent attacks if possible. 

As for the government response, as stated above, incidents of ransomware will be treated with investigations similar to those used for acts of terrorism. In short, the government is taking these ransomware attacks very seriously and sparing no resources in the investigation process.

As for private organizations and government organizations, the government is requesting that ransomware attacks, especially those on critical infrastructure or upon a municipal government in their District, be reported immediately. For both the private and government sector, the cost of ransom, threats of ransomware, and negative impact on operations should be ample motivation to take these attacks seriously and do their part in the rapid reporting of such attacks.

HOPEFULLY, the DOJ’s coordinated response efforts will be enough to gain the body of data and evidence needed to stop this recent uptick in ransomware attacks. If your organization is compromised, do your part in immediate and proper reporting on the incident.

If you think you may have been a victim of a ransomware attack and are unsure what to do–stop and call your IT security team immediately. Contact PK Tech if we can help.