Institute for Security and Technology launches multisector ransomware task force

The Institute for Security and Technology (IST) announced Monday it would host a new, broad, multisector task force to find solutions to ransomware, with delegates ranging from industry to law, insurance to government think tanks.

"A lot of groups are trying to approach this in a sector-by-sector silo," said Philip Reiner, chief executive officer of IST. "We can't succeed if we stay in a sectoral approach."

Ransomware has been a growing threat, with estimates in recent growth ranging as high as a 715 percent year-over-year increase. While the goal is monetary, the effects can be as devastating as an intentionally destructive attack. Companies have shut down over the impact of ransomware, a woman died after a hospital hit by ransomware in Germany turned her away (though authorities later determined the woman was in poor enough health, the hospital probably would not have been able to help in a normal situation), and various cities have had to shut down services.

The Ransomware Task Force (RTF) will involve:

  • Cybersecurity firms, including McAfee, Cybereason and Rapid7)
  • The cybersecurity industry threat sharing group Cyber Threat Alliance
  • Global Cyber Alliance, a cybersecurity promoting organization launched by law enforcement in New York and London
  • The law firm Venable
  • Think tanks, including IST and the Third Way
  • Tech companies, including Microsoft and Citrix, among others

The broad group of stakeholders makes the group somewhat unique. Several come into the group having researched ransomware and cybercrime on their own – Reiner points to recent research from Third Way on cyber crime. The goal, he said, was not to "reinvent the wheel," but to synthesize the work that has already been done into coherent solutions that could engage the whole of society when appropriate.

"What you have is an understanding from a deep technical perspective that at the same time understands law enforcement, that at the same time understands threat intelligence, that at the same time understands threat intelligence and at the same time understands the different sectors," said Reiner.

Joe Uchill

Joe is a senior reporter at SC Weekly, focused on policy issues. He previously covered cybersecurity for Axios, The Hill and the Christian Science Monitor’s short-lived Passcode website.

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