The White House on Thursday urged private companies to scrutinize their online networks and prepare for ransomware attacks on gas pipelines, meat-processing firms and hospitals after high-profile crises in the US and abroad.
In a memo to business leaders, the administration is working with allies to strengthen defenses, disrupt hacking networks and hold countries accountable if they are responsible for the ransomware attacks. provide shelter to organizations.
But it also asked the private sector to look back.
“All organizations should understand that no company, regardless of size or location, is safe from being targeted by ransomware,” the memo said. “But there are immediate steps you can take to protect yourself as well as your customers and the wider economy. Just as we have locks and alarm systems in our homes and our office buildings have guards and security in place to deal with the threat of theft, we urge you to take ransomware crime seriously and ensure that your corporate cyber security threat is protected. match.
The White House told companies to treat ransomware attacks as a threat to the core of their businesses, rather than a simple act of data theft.
A high-profile attack on the Colonial pipeline led to gas shortages in the Southeast, prompting JBS Foods to halt slaughterhouse operations while a cyberattack this week found its footing.
The White House made some suggestions.
It said companies should test their backup systems and keep them offline, so that they too are not infected.
Companies should regularly update and patch their systems, dry-run their emergency plans, and ask a third party to test their cybersecurity.
He also said that the core operations should be kept separate from the network in case of emergency. For example, there may be a manual workaround to keep things running when an online network is under attack.
“Ransomware attacks have disrupted organizations around the world, from hospitals in Ireland, Germany and France to pipelines in the United States and banks in the UK,” the memo said. “The threats are serious and they are increasing. We urge you to take these important steps to protect your organizations and the American public.”
Several recent attacks have been linked to criminal groups in Russia.
The White House said President Biden would address the issue at a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Switzerland on June 16, though it argued that the government’s role was only so far away.
“The number and size of ransomware incidents have increased significantly, and strengthening our nation’s resilience to cyber attacks – both the private and public sectors – is the president’s top priority,” the memo said.
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