Biden set to hold crunch meeting with 30 countries on ransomware attacks

The United States must hold a meeting with 30 other world leaders to find a way to end ransomware attacks and the illegal use of cryptocurrencies around the world. The meeting will take place this month.

In a statement Friday, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told CNN that cyber threats are affecting the lives and livelihoods of American families and businesses.

Sullivan said the government would “continue to build on efforts to prevent and stop cyber attacks”.

The first meeting will be hosted by the United States and will take place in practice this month, the Biden administration said on Friday. The meeting is seen as an informal mechanism to encourage collaboration and also aims to target abuse of virtual currency to launder ransom payments.

The meeting with world leaders aims to form an alliance to accelerate cooperation in fighting cyber crime, enhance cooperation between law enforcement agencies, stop the illegal use of cryptocurrencies and engage diplomatically in this issue.

Although the United States did not name the countries involved in the meeting, there is speculation that NATO and G7 members will be involved as cybersecurity and ransomware attacks are top national and international security priorities.

The meeting follows a series of ransomware attacks against critical US infrastructure firms in recent months, including the day-long shutdown of major US fuel supplier Colonial Pipeline.

Ransomware has devastated businesses around the world this year, including those managing critical infrastructure such as hospitals and pipelines. The attacks, which are believed to have originated from Russia and other Eastern European companies, are most often directed against the United States.

The US president had previously met with his Russian compatriot Vladimir Putin about the threat posed by ransomware attacks and cyber theft.

Biden gave Russia’s Vladimir Putin a list of 16 critical infrastructure sectors believed to have been banned by hackers. But after the meeting, US hospitals and companies in the food supply chain were hit by ransom gangs that cybersecurity experts believe operate out of Russia.

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