Immediate action required to avoid ransomware pandemic

Jürgen Stock has called for police agencies worldwide to form a global coalition with industry partners to prevent a potential ransomware pandemic.

The Secretary General at INTERPOL has said that while some solutions existed nationally or bi-laterally, effectively preventing and disrupting ransomware meant adopting the same international collaboration used to fight terrorism, human trafficking or mafia groups such as the 'Ndrangheta.

The call to scale up collaboration against ransomware was made in the face of its exponential growth in the wider cybercrime ecosystem, with criminals shifting their business model towards providing Ransomware-as-a-Service.

With Project Gateway providing a framework which enables INTERPOL to cooperate with private partners and receive threat data directly, participants endorsed four recommendations to create a global leadership framework for action to disrupt and mitigate the impact of ransomware:

  1.     Prevent ransomware by raising awareness, partnerships and information sharing.
  2.     Aim for pre-exploit disruption of ransomware and its ecosystem through global law enforcement actions both reactively and proactively.
  3.     Provide in-event emergency support against ransomware attacks with the use of INTERPOL’s global network and capabilities.
  4.     Ensure post-event support following ransomware attacks to increase resilience, agility and responsiveness.

Stock said: “Despite the severity of their crimes, ransomware criminals are continuously adapting their tactics, operating free of borders and with near impunity. Much like the pandemic it exploits, ransomware is evolving into different variants, delivering high financial profits to criminals.

“Ransomware has become too large of a threat for any entity or sector to address alone; the magnitude of this challenge urgently demands united global action which INTERPOL can uniquely facilitate as a neutral and trusted global partner.”

Research from Chainalysis found that criminals made $350 million in 2020 from ransomware payments, representing an increase of 311 per cent in one year. Over the same period, the average ransom payment increased by 171 per cent, according to Palo Alto Networks.


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