Seeking to speak with one voice to help combat a rapidly growing cyber threat, the federal government on Thursday launched a new website it bills as a “one-stop hub” to provide resources aimed at mitigating risks from ransomware.
The StopRansomware.gov site was launched by the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice, and federal partners, and includes tips and best practices to avoid becoming a victim of ransomware and for responding to an incident, a slew of federally-available resources, and a portal to report incidents.
A joint statement issued by DHS and DoJ said the new website “is the first central hub consolidating ransomware resources from all federal government agencies. Prior to today, individuals and organizations had to visit a variety of websites to find guidance, latest alerts, updates, and resources, increasing the likelihood of missing important information.”
Information on the site comes from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, FBI, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Secret Service, and the Departments of Treasury, and Health and Human Services.
“Along with our partners in and outside of government, and through our Ransomware and Digital Extortion Task Force, the department is working to bring all our tools to bear against these threats,” Attorney General Merrick Garland, said in a statement. “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.”
The joint statement says that about $350 million in ransom was paid to malicious cyber actors in 2020, a more than 300 percent increase from 2019. It also says that about 75 percent of ransomware cases are against small businesses, many of which are not adequately protected.
Creation of the ransomware resource hub follows President Joe Biden’s direction in April to federal agencies to bolster efforts to combat the threat. A spokesperson for the White House National Security Council said “The White House has coordinated these efforts, regularly convening an interagency task force that drives coordinated whole-of-government action to counter ransomware.”
Actions the task force is coordinating across the interagency includes disrupting ransomware infrastructure and actors, working with international partners to counter the threat, addressing the illicit use of virtual currency to pay ransoms, exploring incentives, improving cyber hygiene, and working with the public and private sectors to strengthen resilience, and where possible, requiring reporting of ransomware incidents and payments, the spokesperson said.