Microsoft is joining forces with a host of cybersecurity firms to form the Ransomware Task Force. The collaborative effort will target ransomware networks and criminal enterprises worldwide, aiming to better protect consumers and businesses from cybercrime.
Microsoft Joins Ransomware Task Force
Ransomware remains a hot topic. Although the number of ransomware attacks has decreased since its 2016 peak, a ransomware attack can cripple any business due to the financial demands and critical data loss.
The Ransomware Task Force is a collaboration between Microsoft and 18 additional founding members and is the brainchild of the Institute for Security and Technology (IST).
The RTF’s founding members understand that ransomware is too large of a threat for any one entity to address, and have come together to provide clear recommendations for both public and private action that will significantly reduce the threat posed by this criminal enterprise.
According to Positive Technologies’ Cybersecurity Threatscape Q3 2020 report, ransomware attacks ramped up drastically throughout 2020, jumping from 39 to 51 percent of all malware attacks.
Ransomware incidents have been growing unchecked, and this economically destructive cybercrime has increasingly led to dangerous, physical consequences. Hospitals, school districts, city governments, and others have found their networks held hostage by malicious actors seeking payouts. This crime transcends sectors and requires bringing all affected stakeholders to the table to synthesize a clear framework of actionable solutions, which is why IST and our coalition of partners are launching this Task Force for a two-to-three month sprint.
The initial list of Ransomware Task Force members is:
- Aspen Digita
- The Cyber Threat Alliance
- The CyberPeace Institute
- The Cybersecurity Coalition
- The Global Cyber Alliance
- Shadowserver Foundation
- Stratigos Security
- Team Cymru
- Third Way
- UT Austin Stauss Center
- Venable LLP
- Institute for Security and Technology
It is a strong list of firms directly involved in cybersecurity, covering compliance, policymaking, cyber-insurance, threat intelligence, network equipment vendors, risk management, and more.
What Will the Ransomware Task Force Do?
Not much is known about the overall goals of the newly formed Ransomware Task Force.
The mission is to identify gaps in ransomware response and knowledge, assess current responses to ransomware attacks, and to begin patching blind spots that make attacks easier for criminal enterprises.
As per the ITF’s statement, the initial force is aiming for a “two-to-three months sprint,” so we could see the first set of ransomware guidance as early as Spring 2021.
At the very least, the Ransomware Task Force will forge the first steps in creating unified ransomware advice, rather than taking advice from numerous sources.