White House Issues Open Letter on Ransomware

The White House has sent an open letter to companies in the United States entreating them to urgently act against the threat of ransomware.

Corporate executives and business leaders received a memo on Thursday morning from Anne Neuberger, the National Security Council's top cyber official. In the missive, Neuberger underscored the sweeping danger of ransomware to the private sector.

"All organizations must recognize that no company is safe from being targeted by ransomware, regardless of size or location," wrote Neuberger. "We urge you to take ransomware crime seriously and ensure your corporate cyber defense match the threat."

Neuberger, who is deputy national security adviser for cyber and emerging technology, called for swift action from corporations and businesses, which she stated have "a distinct and key responsibility” when it comes to America's cybersecurity.

“All organizations must recognize that no company is safe from being targeted by ransomware, regardless of size or location,” wrote Neuberger in the letter dated Wednesday. “But there are immediate steps you can take to protect yourself, as well as your customers and the broader economy.” 

She added that the impact of ransomware upon a company was directly linked to that company's attitude toward the threat.

“The most important takeaway from the recent spate of ransomware attacks on U.S., Irish, German and other organizations around the world is that companies that view ransomware as a threat to their core business operations rather than a simple risk of data theft will react and recover more effectively,” wrote Neuberger.

The letter follows a recent string of ransomware attacks on American companies. Last month's cyber-assault on the Colonial Pipeline was followed by attacks on global meat supplier JBS and on ferry service the Steamship Authority of Massachusetts.

A threat group known as both REvil and Sodinokibi, believed to have ties with Russia, has been blamed for the cyber-attacks on the Colonial Pipeline and JBS.

"More than any other threat, non-technical executives are familiar with ransomware by name and are already looking for solutions," commented John Bambenek, threat intelligence advisor at Netenrich. "A letter from a White House official isn’t going to change the game in the slightest." 

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