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US military reportedly acted against ransomware groups

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General Paul M. Nakasone, America’s greatest cyber warrior, has acknowledged that the U.S. military has been involved in the fight against ransomware groups.

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The US military has gone on the offensive against ransomware groups as US businesses increasingly become targets of malware attacks, the country’s top cyber defender acknowledged on Saturday.

Until about nine months ago, containing ransomware attacks was considered the responsibility of law enforcement agencies, US Cyber ​​chief General Paul M. Nakasone told The New York Times. Command and director of the National Security Agency. But attacks like those on Colonial Pipeline and the JBS beef factories are “impacting our critical infrastructure,” Nakasone said, causing federal agencies to step up the collection and sharing of information about ransomware groups.

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“The first thing we need to do is understand the adversary and his ideas better than we’ve ever understood before,” Nakasone said in an interview with the Reagan National Defense Forum, a gathering of national security officials.

Nakasone did not describe the measures taken or identify the target groups, but said one of the goals was to “impose costs” on the ransomware groups.

“Before, during and since, with a number of elements of our government, we have taken action and we have imposed costs,” Nakasone said. “This is an important element that we must always pay attention to.”

The increase in activity follows a series of cyber attacks against the federal government and private companies, reviving concerns about the vulnerability of critical infrastructure.

A crippling ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline forced the shutdown of a major U.S. oil pipeline in May, raising concerns over widespread gas shortages along the east coast. A month later, JBS USA, one of the largest meat producers in the United States, suffered a ransomware attack that temporarily shut down processing plants.

In ransomware programs like the one used on Colonial, attackers use code to take control of a computer system and then demand money to unlock it. The global WannaCry ransomware attacks in 2017, for example, left the computer systems of hospitals, banks, and phone companies dead. City governments in the United States have also been hampered by ransomware attacks.

President Joe Biden signed an executive order in May to improve U.S. cybersecurity defenses, saying the attack on Colonial Pipeline highlighted the need to do more to protect critical infrastructure. The ordinance outlined a number of measures to strengthen the country’s cybersecurity, including a call to remove contractual barriers to reporting violations by federal agencies, reporting serious cyber attacks within three days, and creating a a cybersecurity security review committee to investigate incidents.

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