Faced with the explosion of cyber attacks, the US government wants to toughen up. An internal memo from the United States Department of Justice (DoJ), viewed by Reuters, sent to prosecutors’ offices says information on ransomware investigations must now be centrally coordinated. The objective: to treat these offenses with as much gravity as terrorism.
“This is a specialized procedure to ensure that we are tracking all cases of ransomware, regardless of where they are committed in the country so that you can connect the specialist players and move forward to disrupt any chain“said John Carlin, Acting Deputy Prosecutor in the Department of Justice.
In this logic, the DoJ announced last April the creation of a task force. Its objective is to slow down the explosion of ransomware. By identifying ransomware as a priority, the working group will increase training and dedicate more resources to the issue, seek to improve intelligence sharing across the department, and work to identify “the links between criminal actors and states- nations “, according to the memorandum.
A disturbing explosion
This new strategy comes against a backdrop of a worrying increase in ransomware. As a reminder, this type of cyberattack aims to encrypt all of the data located in an information system and then to offer a decryption key to the victim in exchange for a ransom, payable in bitcoins and therefore impossible to cancel a once paid.
The latest large-scale attack hit one of the largest pipeline operators in the United States. Pipeline Colonial had to suspend an 8,800-kilometer pipeline carrying diesel and gasoline from Houston to New York, supplying 45% of the East Coast. The company eventually agreed to pay the ransom of $ 4.4 million against official recommendations from the relevant authorities.