International participants in a White House-led virtual meeting held this week to strengthen global cooperation in preventing and responding to ransomware agreed on the need to continue efforts to improve network resilience, disrupt virtual financing used by ransomware actors, coordinate between law enforcement and national security agencies, and use diplomacy to establish norms of behavior and build partner capacity.

The participants in the Counter Ransomware Initiative issued a joint statement on Thursday following two days of meetings and acknowledged that “As with other cyber threats, the threat of ransomware is complex and global in nature and requires a shared response. A nation’s ability to effectively prevent, detect, mitigate and respond to threats from ransomware will depend, in part, on the capacity, cooperation, and resilience of global partners, the private sector, civil society, and the general public.”

The Biden administration said earlier this week that first meetings for the new initiative accelerate global efforts to combat ransomware, which has been used largely by criminal actors to temporarily shut down critical infrastructures, hospitals, local governments and other organizations until victims pay a fee to get their networks operating again.

The meetings, which included government ministers and senior officials, included a focus on four primary topics: improving national resilience; countering illicit finance; law enforcement to disrupt ransomware criminals; and diplomacy.

A list released by the White House of some of the main takeaways from the meetings includes the need for automated and “robust” communications among governments to strengthen national postures to mitigate the impacts of incidents and to warn other countries of an attack so that it can’t spread.

In the area of countering illicit financing activities used by ransomware actors, the participants agreed that country-by-country implementation of guidance issued by the Financial Action Task Force, a global watchdog for money laundering and terrorist financing, has been uneven and allows bad actors to shelter and move their illicit proceeds without being subject to anti-money laundering efforts.

The joint statement says they “will enhance the capacity of our national authorities” to regulate and investigate illicit uses of virtual markets and currencies and “seek out ways to cooperate with the virtual asset industry to enhance ransomware-related information sharing.”

No future meeting dates were announced but White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said, “We look forward to future engagements and collaboration with these and other countries, as we expand and accelerate cooperation on this important topic.”