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The White House Announces Additional Steps To Combat Ransomware

The big meatpacker JBS faced a ransomware attack in early June. JBS paid a ransom of $11 million to cyberattackers.
Chet Strange
Getty Images
The big meatpacker JBS faced a ransomware attack in early June. JBS paid a ransom of $11 million to cyberattackers.

The Biden administration on Thursday announced new initiatives meant to combat growing domestic and foreign cyberthreats.

The White House has launched a ransomware task force to help coordinate its efforts, a senior administration official told reporters Wednesday evening.

The federal government will also launch stopransomware.gov, a website of preventive resources geared at assisting businesses and state and local governments with cybersecurity-related issues.

And the Biden administration will begin what it's calling a Rewards for Justice program, a State Department effort offering up to $10 million for information that leads to the identification of state-sanctioned cyberactivity against key infrastructure.

The additional steps come two months after President Biden signed an executive orderfocused on increasing federal cybersecurity protections.

And they come in the wake of multiple large-scale cyberattacks, including to SolarWinds, Colonial Pipeline and JBS, a meat processor.

The steps from the White House also follow a major Russian-linked ransomware group reportedly going offline this week. The cause of the entity's going offline is unknown.

The departments of State and Treasury also plan to work on increased regulation of virtual currency and focus on its role in spreading ransomware attacks, the administration official said.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Elena Moore is a production assistant for the NPR Politics Podcast. She also fills in as a reporter for the NewsDesk. Moore previously worked as a production assistant for Morning Edition. During the 2020 presidential campaign, she worked for the Washington Desk as an editorial assistant, doing both research and reporting. Before coming to NPR, Moore worked at NBC News. She is a graduate of The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and is originally and proudly from Brooklyn, N.Y.
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